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RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 The Jewish Freedom Movement

In light of discussion on the topic of Christians and war I felt it beneficial to shed some light (to the limited degree we can do that with extra-biblical historical sources) on the religious and political atmosphere among the Jews of the land in the New Testament period. I think it best if we begin looking again at the term "Zealot" and give an outline from there on. Feel free to make comments and ask questions and I'll try (as well as others who want to answer) to see if we can answer them.

God Bless,

-Robert


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Robert Wurtz II

 2005/10/11 9:05Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re: The Jewish Freedom Movement

THE Jewish Freedom Movement

Merton Hengel in his scholarly dissertation "the Zealots" sheds some light on the scene in the time of Jesus through the works of Josephus and others concerning the unrest that existed in the area of Galilee and other places. As far as I know, the term "Zealot" is first mentioned in the New Testament Gospels. It is found first here before any other writings. Simon the "Zealot" was one of Jesus' disciples. The Zealots were founded by Judas the Galilean and Zadok (Saddok) the priest. Judas of Galilee is mentioned to have been killed by an uprising. (Acts 5:37). The "prototype" of the Zealots was Phinehas (Numbers 25:6-13). The Galileans had a reputation for their rebellion against Rome and had a certain accent that gave them away when they spoke (Mark 14:70). When we talk about resistance movements I think we can list at least the: Galileans, Sacarii, and Zealots. Some blur them together, but it is hard to go back and accurately reconstruct each movement. VOLITILE was the situation in Israel because of these movements. Some of them believed to pay tribute to Caesar was paramount to paying him a "tithe" and therefore acknowledging him as deity. That, to them, was a breach of the 1st Commandment. Remember the questions about paying tribute directed towards Jesus? That was part of it. Zealots and Galileans hated the publicans. They collected taxes for Rome and were considered traitors. Imagine how awesome Jesus would have had to be to keep the peace between all of those men when Matthew was a Publican?


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Robert Wurtz II

 2005/10/11 9:08Profile
dohzman
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Joined: 2004/10/13
Posts: 2132


 Re:

Hey Bro. haven't posted with you in a loooonnnngggg time :-) In your post you made some really good points, thought provoking! I do know that Josephus was kinda Romanised. Is there any earlier historical references to that time period???


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D.Miller

 2005/10/11 9:23Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Hi Dohzman,

I have to make it clear that what we have is sketchy and certainly Josephus was trying to paint a different picture than what was happening during those times. He wanted to make the Zealots out to be mere criminals and undermine the religious aspect of the Jewish Freedom cause. However, knowing those he relates and other details of what happened allows us to a large extent paint a picture of our own.

Extra- biblical sources short list would include:

Josephus
Old Testament Aprocraphal writings
Philo
Qumran writings (dead sea scrolls)
Rabbinic writings
Early Church Writers (Martyr, Origen, Tertullian, etc.)
Eusebius

Many (hundreds) of others too numerous to mention that offer tiny slithers of input.

Most of which would be difficult to retrace; but the majority of what we know extra-biblically is Josephus' works.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2005/10/11 9:53Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

The Fourth Philosophy: (THE ZEALOTS)
Part 1

In our first entry we sketched out some of the characteristics of the JEWISH FREEDOM MOVEMENT in the time of Jesus. This group of freedom fighters would eventually come to be known as the ZEALOTS.

The movement itself has its roots deep in the Old Testament. Some movements are like rivers that are difficult to trace the source. It is not necessary to look that far back at this point in our study as we only need look to a group known as the [u]Galileans[/u] to see the story of the Jewish Freedom movement really gain steam. We know that from the time of the Galileans (led by Judas of Galilee) until the Zealots fled to MASADA to take their own lives, there were some significant changes along the way. I suppose we could say that the Galileans ‘evolved’ into what is known as the FOURTH PHILOSPHY in Judaism.

The philosophies of Judaism most important in the New Testament period (the time of Christ and shortly there after) were the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and the Zealots (fourth philosophy). Keep in mind that all such movements in the first century were both religious and political; not one or the other. However, there was so much dissention within the Zealots as time went on that it is more accurate to call them a “tendency” or an “ideology” than a “sect.” Before it was over they were at war within themselves. Such is the case with many radical movements. According to Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews 18,3 –18,23 their main doctrine was as follows:

1) Only GOD may be called LORD or ruler (sole rule of God)

2) They had an ‘invincible love of freedom’

3) The people must cooperate with God for His intervention and help

4) They had a deep and bitter resentment of the Roman census


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Robert Wurtz II

 2005/10/11 12:46Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
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 Re:

Thanks Robert
I am enjoying this and I think it may provide a very interesting biblical background to the 'this is war!!!' thread. I have a passage of scripture in mind but will hold it until you are ready to move on from the Zealots.


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Ron Bailey

 2005/10/11 14:19Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

The FOURTH PHILOSOPY (The Zealots)
Part 2

The 'recent' history of this sect as we know it began with resentment from the census conducted by Cyrenius in 6-7 CE. It resurfaced again in 48 CE when two of Judas’ sons were crucified by Tiberious Alexander and was continued at the beginning of the Jewish war by Manehem (another of Judas’ sons). Manehem claimed to be the Messiah). It ended with the mass suicide of the Zealots at Masada and the mass murder of the deadly “sect within the Zealots” called the Sacarii (assassins) in Egypt in 73 CE.

The Sacarii held to the “Sole rule of God” even under extreme torture. Needless to say, when Herod placed a statue (graven image) of an eagle over the door to the Temple it did not sit well with many in this movement. Perhaps they were having flashbacks to the days of Antiochus Epiphanies. The eagle was a divine symbol of the false god Jupiter and of Baal Shamin (sun-god) in Syrian temples (among others, See also Daniel 9:27).

Some contend that this actually helped keep the fear of the days of Antiochus Epiphanies (a type of the anti-Christ) and his mad behavior in the Temple, ever before their eyes. Judas the Galilean gave this whole struggle a theological implication and that secured the hearts of many -their allegiance to the struggle.

Judas the Galilean taught that people could not yield to a ruler who claimed ‘divine status” for themselves. To obey the emperor was to break the first commandment and worship a false idol (or god. See Exodus 22:19). Imagine how our Lord was perceived when He taught the people not to resist the Romans or if compelled to go a mile were to "go with them twain."

Josephus was not all to kind to this freedom movement and chose to refer to them most of the time as “robbers”; or as we might call them “pirates.” It seems that he thought they were taking advantage of the situation at hand between Rome and the Jews. In Rabbinic literature the Hebrew word used for 'robber' lends to the idea that they were to be feared at night.

The Babylonian Talmud calls the “rebels” in Jerusalem by the name Barjone. The word literally means, “Out-laws.” This has led a few scholars to believe that Simon was a Zealot based on Matthew 16:17, but there are real problems with this view. Either way Simon Peter’s overall concept of Messiah was obviously very much effected by the Jewish Freedom Movement based upon the fact that he was willing to die for who he thought the Messiah was supposed to be in terms of earthly rule (another study) and what the average Jew believed the Messiah would do when He appeared. He was from Galilee and that was the hotbed for this movement. This whole scenerio sets up the whole situation we see playing out when they came to take our Lord. It was a sorely confusing time for the disciples. There were obviously still some concepts that were not yet overthrown in their minds. Our Lord being taken away was the catalyst needed for a prime sifting.

I believe that Satan used Jesus’ capture to create confusion in Peter’s mind about what was going on. This, in my opinion, was the “sifting” that took place. The Greek word for “sift” is siniazo (sin-ee-ad'-zo); from sinion (a sieve); to riddle (figuratively). Satan used the contradiction between the reality of what was happening to Jesus and Peter’s Messianic concepts to “riddle” his mind that he would lose his faith.

Then Jesus cleared it all up in Luke 24:44… as it is written… [i]And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. [/i] There was a lot of confusion and it had to be cleared up. they seemed to be just plain ole hard headed; but old concepts and beliefs die hard. And if I might so say, these situations are what happens when carnal minds take hold of the scriptures; especially prophecy.

God Bless,

-Robert


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Robert Wurtz II

 2005/10/11 15:06Profile
dohzman
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Joined: 2004/10/13
Posts: 2132


 Re:

Hi Robert: I too want to see how you develop this thread. I'll check through some of the old rabinic teaching books and see what I can find. BTW I really enjoy this aspect of the whole war subject.
Didn't alot of the Zelot movement come out of the Macabbean revolt?


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D.Miller

 2005/10/11 15:09Profile
crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: The Jewish Freedom Movement

Thanks Robert,

Am also thouroughly enjoying this, tremndously helpful. Think you are dead on about the 'confusion' not only with the disciples but more so in Peter's case specifically. Great work here, looking forward to more.


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Mike Balog

 2005/10/11 15:52Profile
RobertW
Member



Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Praise God guys. I really enjoy the search for truth. It challenges me!

Quote:
Didn't alot of the Zelot movement come out of the Macabbean revolt?



Yes and even before that. A lot happened during those 400 years of silence (the white page in your bible as ravenhill says). I think it speaks much to our need to allow God to work in our lives in a real way.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2005/10/11 16:07Profile





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