The Dongola Times

(Anachronistic) Dispatches from the Kingdom of Makuria.
31st of May, 2014

Altercation #1

I thought I had outgrown posting my online altercations to my blog, but here is one from today:

I keep using the example of Simon the Zealot for non-state Christian arms. He was called “the Zealot” even into The Acts of the Apostles. Jesus knew that he was a revolutionary, but didn’t say anything against it. The two swords in Luke 22 didn’t all have one owner; Peter had one, and the other would have been the zealot’s. Christians should be armed for the fight.
That was me. Nothing explosive. But then a reply came, to which I have replied as below. Its parts that I quote are what is quoted below.

We can see how it went from that, and migrated to "revolutionary" by the 60s AD …
Are you talking of two decades disqualifying a legitimate meaning of “ζηλωτης” that is attested historically (“by the 60s AD,” as you say)? Don’t pretend to have tracked so fine a transition in meaning—from the 30s AD to the 60s AD.
"Sikarii" - from the Latin for "dagger" (Acts 21:38) - was the "dangerous group" in the late 50sAD.
Is that the Latin attested as a translation for any occurrence of “zealot” in the Koine Greek?

In Acts 22, Paul’s use is safe, since it is qualified («νομου ζηλωτης»—“of the law a zealot”), a usage that would be immediately distinguished from the titular usage («σιμων ο ζηλωτης»—“Simon the Zealot”). The repeated usages of only this form «ο ζηλωτης» don’t leave it ambiguous in meaning, but mark it out as titular. In Koine Greek, you will find that these are two distinct meanings. One is a title—and we know of no religious group with that title, historically, but we do know of an armed group. (Essentially, a militant religious order formed in the wake of the examples recorded faithfully in 1 and 2 Maccabees. Religion and war are not so easily taken apart in the Bible—or in the sound Christian life.)

Being armed in those days was to prevent such things as befell the man on the Jericho Road, in Jesus' Parable of the Good Samaritan.
Why does this disqualify armed zealots? All good men should be armed, zealot or traveller.
Be wary of reading too much into such passages.
Do you commonly dismiss sound interpretation of the only titular name used for a disciple in the canon, and then pretend that there is some piousness in that “not reading too much into such passages”? Nothing is random in my (Protestant) Bible, so I study every detail. (And, yes, I study the Greek.)
Clearly Jesus also acknowledged the need for self-defense, in the right circumstances, or He would not have permitted the Apostles to be armed.
Moreover, He specifies in that same Luke 22 that the things written about Him have a τελος. But why is He warning the Church to bear the sword because of events in His life, when He shortly after that tells Peter that he needs not deploy his sword for events in His life?

The events in His life, to which He alluded as the time of “the righteous to be counted with the ungodly”—also play out in the life of the Church. That time is now, as the Church, Christ’s body, suffered as Christ did. Jesus even said “because the things written about me have a τελος.” He is giving this as advice to Peter, at the same time that He gives him the advice of carrying the sword, even at the cost of the “outer coat.” If you study the “things written” (scriptures, not just the Old Testament prophecies) of Jesus’ life, you will find ample guidance for the Church in its life on Earth.

For this reason I believe very much the Reformed “amillennial” teaching of a growing persecution in the end of the age, and I believe that this persecution is here. Christians are being murdered by Muslims on the one hand, and executed as heretics on the other. The Church is now suffering its Passion. We cannot sit about and do nothing. That is why I agree a lot with Rescue Christians (even financially). I have worked with them, and I know they are actually on the ground helping the suffering saints.