Book: Adam2
Gospel of John - Zealots Gospel of John - Zealots Gospel of John - Zealots Gospel of John - Zealots

The following is taken from the Book, Adam2: A Guide For The Walk Home, written by our founder. It is A Commentary On The Gospel Of John, complete with a background look at the contemporary Jewish groups active in Jesus' day. It includes a summary of each chapter, a redacted study of each disciple, a brief study of Gnosticism of the time, pertinet timelines, and much more. Each chapter of study includes extensive Biblical references to the notes on the chapter.

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We look now at the study of the Zealots from the book: Adam2.

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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:
    a. The Period of the Patriarchs - Gen.12:1 - Ex.1:7.
    Includes Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph
    b. The Period of the Exodus - Ex.1:8 - Deu.34:12.
    Under the leadership of Moses
    c. The Period of the Settlement - Jos.1:1 - 24:33.
    Under the leadership of Joshua
    d. The Period of the Judges - Jud.1:1 - I Sam.10:25.
    Under succeeding chosen individuals: final figure and counselor, Samuel
    e. The Period of the Kings - I Sam.10:26 - II Ki.25:21.
    THE 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
    THE DIVIDED KINGDOM - I Ki.12:1 - II Ki.25:21
    Under 19 successive kings within each kingdom
    MAIN PROPHETS TO ISRAEL: Jonah, Amos, and Hosea
    MAIN PROPHETS TO JUDAH: Joel, Isaiah, Micah, Zephaniah, Nahum, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Daniel, Ezekiel, and Obadiah
    f. The Period of Babylonian Exile - Ez.1:1 - Dan.5:31.
    Main figures and counselors: Ezekiel and Daniel
    g. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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).
  7. Men and women, such as Samson, Gideon, Deborah, and Barak (Heb.11:32), would stand as giants and champions upon the pages of their national history in their ongoing struggle for continued freedom and independence—a blessing promised and given by their God to their forefathers if they remained faithful and obedient, but a national judgment by other nations if failed. Later in this Period of Judges, this national zeal and personal courage would become focused and symbolized in their continuing judge, priest, prophet, and leader, Samuel, and who himself in his old days, after overwhelming pressure from the people for a successor, would eventually appoint a first king (I Sam. 8). Thus began the Period of the Kings. It must be remembered here, that God never intended the twelve tribes of Israel to have an earthly king. He alone would be their ruler, preparing them for the time when He would manifest Himself through His Son, their expected messiah, and assume His rightful position upon His millennial throne. Israel was to prepare all nations of the earth and be the door through which they would come to Him. All would bow before Him alike, Jew and Gentile, subject and king, calling Him the only One, Lord of Lords and King of Kings. The world was to learn through Israel that there was only one God of creation and that He was also a God of Redemption for this fallen creation. They were to teach this and His name to the kingdoms of the earth.
  8. Although Saul would be their first (1053 B.C.), it was the second, their well-loved king David in 1013 B.C., one said to have been after the very heart of God, who would come to epitomize everything good and desirable about an earthly kingdom. At its best, his would be the standard by which all other kingdoms would be measured (II Chr.7:17-22; 17:3; 21:12; 28:1; 29:2; 34:2-3). And it would be through his lineage, they would say, a descendant would come (and indeed did - Mat.1:23; Lk.2:11) and assume his throne (and thus will - Isa.9:6-7; Mt.19:28; 25:31-34; Lk.1:32-33; Acts 2:30; Heb.1:8; Rev.3:21; Ro.14:11; Ph.2:10). It was through David's dream and driving desire, a temple for God's glory would be erected during his son's time.
  9. Nevertheless, for a time, this national faithfulness would cease. Its decline would begin in his son Solomon's reign (973 B.C.), himself admitting the myriad of foreign gods through his many wives and concubines. At the end of his reign in 933 B.C., the great kingdom would be divided, never to rise in such splendor again until the coming of the messianic millennial kingdom at the end of the ages. To the north would be called Israel, composed of ten tribes, with its capital in Samaria, and to the south, Judah, comprised of the two remaining tribes, with Jerusalem continuing as her capital. The contrasted brevity of Israel's kingdom to Judah's is indicative of how far removed from God and bloody and rapid were the succession of Israel's kings. Over the next few centuries (200 for Israel, 400 for Judah) nineteen kings would come and go respectively in each nation, none of which from Israel would turn or allow his people to return to God. Pagan altars would be erected at her northern and southern borders and pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem for holy days would be forbidden. Among these kings, likely the one most well known to us, was Ahab, and his wicked pagan wife, Jezebel. During this time, Elijah and his successor, Elisha, would appear as prophets to this kingdom. Including other prophets before and after them, none would be able to return Israel to their binding Mosaic covenant with God. Assyria from the north would finally sweep away Israel (northern kingdom) in 721 B.C., never again to return (giving rise to the commonly know term, "the lost ten tribes of Israel"), leaving hope only for the now tiny nation of Judah to the south to learn from her sister's example. But learn she would not.
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- Author: Ken Livingston
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