from the root word נצר (Ar. nätzär, Hb. nëtzër)
n-tz-r from the key
letter צ tzade.
Natzraya is a plural term1 to describe an inclusive group of Natzari people. A single male is called a Natzar or Natzari, and a single female a Natzrati. A group of exclusive Natzari women are called Natzrayn. An exclusive group of Natzari men are called Natzraya.
Commonly translated as "branch" it more accurately refers to a new shoot or stem growing from the side of a branch or trunk of a tree has been severed. For this reason it is also means wicker by it's industrial use. By implication it means new life, regeneration, or even resurrection. The key letter tzade, which means "issuing out of the side" still retains elements of the original pictogram of an emerging shoot. For this reason we use it as an abbreviation for Natzar or Natzraya.
The earliest forms of these letters were written as pictographs depicting a seed-shoot-head. These compare the three main parts of a tree, the root, the trunk, and the crown.
|Ancient Hebrew Pictograph||2|
|<<< read right to left <<<||head||shoot||seed/root|
The seed or root, which happens look like a human sperm, is shown as sprouting or taking root. It represents a new generation that grows into a tree or a nation. Israel is compared to a great olive tree by the prophets. The head indicates the chief, head, firstborn, beginning, or most important. Together this could be interpreted as, "From the root or seed will spring forth a new tree which will be the chief." We know these are themes that refer to the Mashiha and the renewal of Israel.
"To Æbrähäm's seed was the kingdom promised. Now it does not say "To the seeds" as to mean many but rather "TO THE SEED," that one being the Anointed one." - Galatians 3:16
"And a stem shall come up out of the stump of Yeshay, and a shoot (natzar) shall grow out of his roots... And in that day there shall be a root of Yeshay, which shall stand as an ensign for the people and the nations will look to it, and his resting place shall be wonderful." - Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 11:1,10
"יהוה called your name the Green Olive Tree, lovely with good fruit." - Yeremyahu (Jeremiah) 11:16
"Rather be truthful in love concerning all things so that all will grow up into the Anointed one who is the head." - Ephesians 4:15
"I want you to understand that the head of every man is the Anointed one;" - 1 Corinthians 11:3
The illustration of the tree of Israel is also used by Pulos to explain how outsiders can join the Natzraya shoot and be nourished from our roots.
"...and if the root is special so are the branches. Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot have been grafted in among the others and have become a partaker of the root and the richness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. If you do then consider this: You do not support the root, but rather the root supports you! You might reply: But the branches were broken off so that we could be grafted in. True, but they were broken off because of unfaithfulness, yet you have been established by faith...For if you were cut off from the naturally barbaric olive tree and contrary to what is natural you were grafted into the cultivated olive tree, how much more easily will the natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree?" - Romans 11:11-24
Although the name Natzraya may seem foreign to many, it is the surname of Yeshua the Mashiha, and it occurs at least 21 times in the New Testament. However it appears only once or twice in most Christian versions of the New Testament. This is why when Christians are asked, the majority can not recall their saviour's surname, the name of his sect, nor correctly identify his religion.
Christian translators have expunged the name Natzraya wherever possible by altering or replacing it with neutered terms like "Nazareth" or "Galilee" that do not legitimize the sect of the same name. This could be due to the fact that the Natzraya were counted as a heretical cult by early Christian theologians such as Ignatius3 and Epiphanius4 who rejected the name Natzraya and their beliefs. Epiphanius treats the people and the name with comtempt when he appears to create a pun comparing the Natzraya to crickets (also called natzraya) that should be "squashed".
Another meaning of natzar5 is to keep, guard, observe, etc. When this meaning is used sometimes the spelling is slightly altered to natar to distinguish the two. In this form, the name also occurs a little more covertly in other places such as Revelation 1:3 where those who keep or guard the words of the prophecy are referred to in the Aramaic text "Natrayan" whom the letter is apparently addressed to.
The surname of Yeshua the Mashiha, and of his followers is best represented in English by Natzraya, however over time and through various dialects and languages the name has also been variable written as; Natzaraya, Ntsaraya, Natsraya, Nazarenes, Nazareans, Natsarenes, Nasoreans, Nazoreans, Natzarenes, Notzari, Notzarim, Notzri, Notzrim, Natzari, Natzarim, Natsari, Natsarim, Nadzorean, Nasara, Nasrani, Natzar, Netzer, Netzerim, Netzrim, Netzari, Netzarim, Nitzrim, Natsrim, Netseri, Nadzsorayn, Natzaray, etc. In the Talmud we are referred to as Notzrim and in the Quran as Nasara.
According to the Talmud, a Natzari place of worship was called a Natzrapay, which is a combination of the words Natzari and tzrap. The latter meaning to join together, to purify, to smelt or refine in the crucible. Although this designation was intended with contempt, as if to burn and destroy us in an oven, it actually has desirable associations with the scriptures.
"And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on My name, and I will answer them; I will say: 'It is My people', and they shall say: 'יהוה is my God.'" - Zecharyah 13:9
"As your faith is put to the test, behold, what remains afterward is refined gold, proven by fire, a praiseworthy and honourable report at the appearing of Yeshua the anointed one." - I Kaepa 1:7
1. The yud-alap (aya) gentilic declension after nun-tzade-resh (natzar) shows that this is a personal group designation the same as the ian in Bostonian. In Hebrew and Aramaic all plural gentilic nouns, of all male or mixed company, are by rule masculine, and that is the reason why the feminine taw (t/th) ending in Natzrat is changed. Therefore it is improper grammar to reincorporate the elision to form Natzrataya or Natzratim.