Not to long ago there was a book written… discussed in the UK, the book was about ‘zealots,‘ and went so far as to express the view that Jesus was (suggested) also a Zealot. This seems to be a bit more than brash, to assert the opinion Jesus was a militant. By mere suggestion this seems more than ludicrous… for the actions of Jesus were anything but militant, and possibly gains ground for the opinions of the Sadducees and Pharisees choosing not to recognize Him as God- thinking Rome would be overthrown by the coming Messiah (a hope of the people to throw off the yoke of Roman rule).
The assertions made in the book, written by a Muslim, come with some very biased views… and slighting the ‘Historical record’ not only of Biblical import but sociopolitical causes during this timeframe- during the life and times of Jesus Himself. The most important of all these (involved) is one aspect to the assertions made by Jesus directly- either Jesus was God or Christianity is based on a lie! The actions of Jesus belie this claim: healing the sick, feeding thousands from a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish, walking on water, raising the dead and resurrecting from the dead Himself. Furthermore, it is Scripture that tells us,” … sinners shall die by the sword… .”
10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.
Can we really believe Jesus was a Zealot when Peter attempted to stop his capture, at Gethsemane, and struck out with a sword. This was more in line with ‘Zealot mentality… but not with the way Jesus taught or advanced in the actions of His followers. Therefore, the Biblical viewpoint of Jesus, being not just man but God as well, tells a more accurate view of the truer meaning of ‘Zealot,’ seen here. Please pay particular note to the latter words… and the overall usage.
10 Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.
John 18:11 Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
The response was immediate… predictable, and assuredly not in line with what the Zealots would advocate at all.
I would like to respond in kind to some of the many assertions Reza Aslan makes… or conveys in his book,”Zealot, The Life and Times of Jesus Of Nazareth.”
1) …, Zealots did not exist in the times of Jesus.
Zealots did exist, and one of the disciples was Simon the Zealot- a historical fact. The Maccabees were zealous for defending Jewish rights and customs.
2)… To say Jesus was zealous for the political future of Israel as the Kingdom of Godon Earth could be a major mistake in viewpoint.
Jesus pointed to a coming event, a future event, where His Kingdom would be the last Theocracy this world will come to know. This Theocracy would [and will be] one where He will sit on the throne (God Himself) and rule and reign forever.
3)… To claim the Jewish view of God being man ‘an anathema’ to Judaism.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ [and Christ meaning ‘anointed one‘ or ‘Messiah‘] is rendering this point which would have turned Judaism on its own head and absolved the thought (or notion) of there being ‘an anathema’ to begin with. Conversely, the resurrection of Jesus also made the rest of this world’s religions appear to contain falsehoods; which has given rise (today) for the need to allay Biblical assertions (statements) made by Jesus directly. This is hand-in-hand with prophecy… in the end times many false claims will be made.
[Below is found in the Geneva Study Bible… under Luke 6:27]
27 But I say unto you which hear , Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
Christian charity, which is very different from worldly charity, not
only does not revenge injuries, but is even extended to our most
grievous enemies, and that for our Fathers sake who is in heaven:
in well doing it is not at all seeking its own.
For this very reason, it becomes apparent the claims of Jesus… concerning the end times, Revelation has told us: what will happen, by whom and what we are to beware of… deceit and lies to all He claimed would become our reality. Pray for those who would persecute you, and despise you, for being a follower of Jesus Christ. Look to Jesus Christ as the God He is… Deliverer of the whole world (under grace) and prepare yourselves for the coming days of our persecution for what and who we believe in.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
This is the preeminent thought Jesus would have us apply to our own actions… despite what we face from those that are in the world without Him… without Him as their Savior. Do not be deceived… and stay the course of your belief- where you spend eternity is counting on it!