During the first century in Judea, the Zealots were a sect within Judaism which looked to overthrow Roman rule. According to Josephus, a contemporary Jewish historian, they were close to the Pharisees in their theology, but radical in their willingness to resort to violence.
Numbered among Jesus’ original twelve disciples was Simon the Zealot. Doubtless more Zealots, like Simon, abandoned their political leanings and followed Jesus. But as an influential movement, many remaining Zealots continued on until the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.
Jesus made no call to arms. And worse, from the perspective of the Zealots, He even instructed His hearers to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.” It must have seemed to Simon’s ex-fellow Zealots that he had joined the wrong team in following Jesus – that he was a disciple of a loser. And so they denied the very One who could give them “more than they could ask or imagine” – a victory far greater than the greatest of national, political victories.
The history of the Zealots is a crucial wake-up for many in our current church world. And it has been so throughout the history of the church.
We in the church must not be blind to the machinations of the evil one and his spiritual forces as they work in the world. Professing believers must avoid traveling the broad road to destruction by investing their spirits in political factions and governments – with eyes no longer fixed on Jesus.
Worldly leaders constantly emerge to seduce the church. Unfortunately, some believers choose political figures or movements to lead society to perceived moral victory.
At times, we may see acts of moral justice achieved by political action. Political parties will make concessions to appease and retain their hold on their power bases. And we know that the Holy Spirit is given to all, to some degree, and it will on occasion break through man’s self interest – imparting the “milk of human kindness.” But, unfortunately, by aligning with political factions, the believer signs on to broad platforms which very often do far greater evil than good. One step forward, three steps back.
Truth is truth. As God’s people, we are free to speak truth. This includes truth on any and every subject. We are free to comment on the lies and hypocrisy spewed out by politicians, seeking to use the people for their own ends. Our observations should be no indication of a partisan mind-set.
“One of the most cowardly things ordinary people do is to shut their eyes to facts,” said C.S. Lewis.
Voicing our objections to the globalist and woke agendas is speaking truth. Global control by the power elite will never serve the Church Universal, for the world stands in opposition to Christ, and His message is abhorrent to those of the world.
Far worse, the woke agenda is explicitly anti-Christian. It has become apparent that one of the goals of the globalist and woke movements is the forced compliance of God’s Church with their multi-faceted, sinful perversity. Whole denominations have shamefully succumbed to their lies.
Yet, as His people, our goal is not the political legislation of moral truth – an impossibility on this sin-cursed earth. Believers stand above the fray – as observers, fulfilling a far greater commission. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil.
Paul says that our citizenship is in heaven. Peter tells us three times in his first letter that we are strangers here, as does the writer of Hebrews. The meaning of their inspired words is clear to any believer.
Sadly, seeking political solutions to spiritual problems, many in our church world are being tempted by modern-day incarnations of the Judean Zealots. Believers invested in any political movement that purports to take the moral high ground will eventually be abandoned and bogged down in a swamp of disappointment and despair as that movement inevitably reveals its true, fallen nature.
“For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 3: 18-20
Note: Special thanks go out to our pastor, brother and friend, Pastor Richard Rutter, for his inspiring leadership of Crossroads Mennonite Church in Lancaster, PA.