The Separated Saint
Numbers 6:6-9 (6) All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body. (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. (8) All the days of his separation he is holy unto the LORD. (9) And if any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it. This chapter details the Law of the Nazarite, one who was set apart from others in Israel for particular consecration to God. There were things that were forbidden to a Nazarite which otherwise were permissible, such as dealing with a dead body. One could volunteer himself as a Nazarite by a vow of separation (NUM 6:2) for a limited period. Occasionally God divinely appointed someone as a Nazarite. Samson was a special example of this kind, “...a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death...” (JDG 13:3-7), his was a life-long commission by heaven's order. The Hebrew word underlying Nazarite (naziyr, Strong's H5139) first appears in Scripture in GEN 49:26 speaking of Joseph as “...separate from his brethren.” It is of note that Joseph was not only separated from his brethren but he was also the spiritually eminent one. The essence of being a Nazarite was separation, non-conformity to this world, and not touching the unclean thing. These are basic elements of Christian life and proper church order: (Rom 12:2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (2Co 6:14) Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (2Co 6:15) And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? (2Co 6:16) And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (2Co 6:17) Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (2Co 6:18) And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Bible-following Christians are not to serve God as others might, and they are to withdraw from those who pretend to worship God with no concern to unbelief and unbiblical forms of religion. The Bible-believer must in worship be separate from such people, and their polluted elements of worship are unclean and not to be touched. How foolish is it to bring “strange fire” unto God as did Aaron's sons (LEV 10:1-2)! Per today's text, the Nazarite's required separation from a dead body of even his closest relatives corresponds with Christ's words to those who professed an interest in being separated unto His discipleship: (Luk 9:59) And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. (Luk 9:60) Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. (Luk 9:61) And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. (Luk 9:62) And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. Gospel work takes precedence over family concerns. Though discipleship to Christ does not mean that one must live the O.T. vow of a Nazarite in the letter, there is nevertheless a corresponding principle: the dearest of family must not be more precious than Christ: (Mat 10:37) He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Mat 10:38) And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. How many have made the choice of family over Christ only to regret it dearly, and not considering that the same Christ also promised: (Luk 18:29) And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, (Luk 18:30) Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting. Our God is truly a rewarder of them who diligently seek Him in faith (HEB 11:6). Also (per today's text), the Nazarite by this command identified with the high priest under the Law who likewise could not defile himself for a close relative who had died: (Lev 21:10) And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes; (Lev 21:11) Neither shall he go in to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother; Correspondingly, when a believer separates himself from the unclean things of his past, including hindering relationships, false religion, and the ways of this world, he mortifies them: he has “...crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (GAL 5:24). Those things are to him dead, defiling, untouchable corpses. As dear as some of those things might have been to him personally, they must be separated from in order to live the holy, harmless, undefiled life of discipleship to Christ. And in so doing, he also identifies with his High Priest, Who is “...holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners...” (HEB 7:26) but also “...made higher than the heavens...” (HEB 7:26), a place where dead things are not allowed (REV 21:4).