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Introduction To ADAM II - A Guide For The Walk Home - Jewish Group: Zealots
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Zealots Page 1

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Zealot in Hebrew is, Kananaios, or Cananaean, and in Greek, Zelotes, or Zealot, both meaning, "to be jealous." Cananaean (not to be confused with an entirely different word similarly pronounced for native geographical identification -- Canaanean, or, Canaanite) -- is rooted in the Hebrew verb, kana, or the common Aramaic form, kanan, which means, in our case, "jealous for the Law of Moses." It is used in our New Testament to distinguish between the two disciples named Simon: Simon Peter and Simon Zelotes, or, Simon the Zealot, or, Simon the Cananaean (one who had been zealous for the Law and likely a member of its namesake party, now to be discussed, before being called as a disciple. (See Appendix, "Simon," p. 25.)

Unlike the two previous parties, or sects, of the Jewish religion who differed religiously (in their beliefs and practices), philosophically (in their ideas toward the future of man in general, but more specifically their nation), and politically (what role they would assume within nations), the Zealots were not considered a religious sect or party. Though they held to the basic precepts of the Pharisee, and thus can be seen resembling them more than the Sadducee, their uniform for identification primarily was political.

To better understand the Zealot of Jesus' day, a quick look at the roots of their evolved historical persuasions is here in order. But first it must be said in defense of those earlier examples of great zeal seen in the genesis and zenith of their nation, that they in no way compare to the lower character of this evolved murderous first century Zealot at the close of their national life. Briefly, then, Israel's Old Testament history can be divided into seven distinct periods:

 The Period of the Patriarchs - Gen.12:1 - Ex.1:7.
  Includes Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph
   The Period of the Exodus - Ex.1:8 - Deu.34:12.
  Under the leadership of Moses
   The Period of the Settlement - Jos.1:1 - 24:33.
  Under the leadership of Joshua
   The Period of the Judges - Jud.1:1 - I Sam.10:25.
  Under succeeding chosen individuals: final figure and counselor, Samuel
   The Period of the Kings - I Sam.10:26 - II Ki.25:21.
  bulletTHE UNITED KINGDOM - I Sam.10:26 - I Ki.11:43
  Under Saul, David, and Solomon: each ruling 40 years successively
  Main prophets: Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, and Naaman
  bulletTHE DIVIDED KINGDOM - I Ki.12:1 - II Ki.25:21
  Under 19 successive kings within each kingdom
  PointerMAIN PROPHETS TO ISRAEL: Jonah, Amos, and Hosea
  PointerMAIN PROPHETS TO JUDAH: Joel, Isaiah, Micah, Zephaniah, Nahum, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Daniel, Ezekiel, and Obadiah
   The Period of Babylonian Exile - Ez.1:1 - Dan.5:31.
  Main figures and counselors: Ezekiel and Daniel
   The Period of Post-Babylonian Resettlement.
  Ezra 1:1 - Neh.13:31; Hag.1:1 - Mal.4:6
  Main figures and counselors: Zerubbabel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi

Having been ceremonially (Passover) separated from Egypt as a host of people grown over centuries from the origins of the seventy in Jacob's family, and brought through the Red Sea as a symbol of baptism under the leadership of Moses, the Hebrews (later to be called Jews) were first called to covenant at Mt. Sinai. Prior to the time of Moses, God's covenant had always been with individuals (except for the Rainbow Covenant with the entire human race - Gen.9:9), including the choosing of Abraham to be the patriarch of this new nation (Gen.12:2; 17:2-4). Now, His covenant would collectively be with Abraham's descendants.

Upon receiving God's laws and instructions as an emerging priestly nation to all nations, origins of zeal for national identity and independence for this calling and mission can clearly be seen in its very early days in the lives of men like Moses (Ex.2:11-12; 32:32; Nu.14:19), Joshua (Jos.1:1-9; 10:40-43; 24:14-28), Caleb (Nu.13:30; 14:9), and the very young, Phinehas, who was promised an everlasting priesthood because of his jealousy for God and His laws evidenced in his executional act (Nu.25).

This zeal and commitment would continue under Joshua's leadership in the Settlement Period within the promised land. Adequately forewarned and given examples of the consequences for disobedience (Deu.26:16-30:20), lessons thus learned through the examples of their faithfulness to God's laws and fulfillment of His instructions for settlement and subsequent prosperity within the land of promise, would later lead to the cyclical Period of the Judges -- a time of increased prosperity that would be followed by a decrease in religious commitment and national blessings. God would then allow other nations, Gentiles, or those to the Jews considered pagan, or, heathen -- unclean people-- to visit punishment, or judgment, upon their national backslidden condition. Recognition for their fallen condition would slowly evolve and a call or cry would go out for a deliverer, or judge -- a savior who would rally and lead them in throwing off the current yoke of foreign oppression. In those days, God was always faithful to hear and answer their genuine plea, Himself engaging in their defense. Israel would once again experience a time of both renewed independence and religious consciousness, only to soon forget and be repeated again and again, usually with the very next generation, but sometimes within their own (Judges 2:6-3:4).

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