The Nazarenes are an ancient sect of Judaism practicing a Messianic form of Karaite Judaism as given in Torah. The early believers in the Messiah including the Apostles were Nazarene Jews. The Apostle Paul is referred to as being the ringleader of the Jewish Sect of the Nazarene.
For we have found this man to be one who is corrupt and a stirs up sedition among all the Jews in all Ha-Eretz. For he a leader of the teachings of the Nazarenes: (HRV Acts 24:5)
"For having found this man to be a plague, who stirs up dissention among all the Yehudim throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Natsarenes, (ISR Acts 24:5)
Nazarites on the other hand are those who have taken the vow of the Nazarite, a vow of separation (Numbers 6:1-21). Nazarites let their hair grow long, they do not cut the hair on their head until they end the vow. Nazarites in Scripture include: Joseph, Sampson, Samuel, John the Baptists. The Apostle Paul was not only a Nazarene, he was also a Nazarite.
And when Paul was there many days, he gave a farewell to the brethers and journeyed by sea to go to Syria. And with him went Priscilla and Aquila when he had shaved his head in Cenchrea because a vow was vowed. (HRV Acts 18:18)
And Sha'ul, having stayed several days more, having taking leave of the brothers, was sailing for Syria, and Priscilla and Aqulas were with him, having shaved his hair at Kenhrea, for he had taken a vow. (ISR Acts 18:18)
The Apostle Paul was not the only one who had taken the vow of the Nazarite. It is believed many, if not all of the Apostles were Nazarites. Paul was added to the other eleven Apostles much later and therefore had taken the vow much later. This was not just something for the Apostles though lets see if this was a regular practice among believers.
Do what we tell you. We have four men who have made a vow to be purified. Lead them and go, be made pure with them and spend with them the expenses, as they will shave thier heads... (HRV Acts 21:23-24)
"So do this, what we say to you: We have four men who have taken a vow. "Take them and be cleansed with them, and pay their expenses so that they shave their heads... (ISR Acts 21:23-24)
It is believed that it was a common practice for many if not all new believers in the Messiah to take the vow of the Nazarite. It all makes perfect sense being as the Scripture indicates that Yahshua himself was a Nazarite and the Scripture says that we ought to walk just as He walked.
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