Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Simon the Zealot

I wonder how many people know what the "Zealot" part of Simon the Zealot's title meant?  I was under the impression that most people knew that the Zealots were a group of Jewish people during the Roman occupation who's one goal was to establish a Jewish-run state.  That meant, even if it required arms, to rise up and overthrow the Roman government.

This was a group who's purpose was to incite the people to rebel, and through the use of force, expel the Romans.  They weren't just a nice political organization or something like ACORN or the Tea Party Movement.  These guys were militia.  They were angry. They were dangerous.  Not only did they kill Romans and Greeks, it was not good for you to be Jewish and helping the Romans or Greeks.  They came after you.

In AD 66, they successfully rose up and captured Jerusalem through an armed initiative.  The Romans came down and came down hard.  It was this point, in AD 70, they destroyed the Temple.  The remaining Zealots attacked the Roman fortress of Masada and left no prisoner.  The Romans built a bridge to it over a very long period (three years), and as they came close to getting inside, the Zealots committed suicide.

Israeli Defense Force soldiers today take their oaths at Masada and say "Never again."

I bring this all up, because in discussing with someone the disciple Simon the Zealot, they didn't know about all this history.  In the script I'm working on, I present a character built on Simon and it came as a shock that he was militant.  Simon the Zealot wasn't a part of a nice little movement.  He was part of a group dedicated to giving their life to kill Romans and get them out of the country.

So I find it extremely interesting to study this in light of him being one of the twelve.  What was he like?  Did he simply become a peace-loving guy when Jesus said "follow me?"  What did his old gang think?  Did Simon harbor some feeling that maybe Jesus, since people cried out for him to be King, that Jesus would flush the Romans out and institute this "Kingdom of God" that he so often preached about?

I just find it all interesting.


  1. I think its super interesting that Jesus really was planning to set up the Kingdom of God here on the earth but didn't because the Jews put him to the cross after determining that he was not the conquering lion that they were looking for. So it turns out that God went forward at that point with what we now call the church age, which wasn't part of God's original plan so the kingdom has been postponed. Great stuff...

  2. Not sure about the theology there. I don't think He had a plan B. If God wanted to establish His kingdom on Earth, I doubt pharisees could have thwarted Him.