Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sarah Palin and the Latter Day Zealots

Before McCain vetted Sarah Palin to be his running mate, she stood before her church congregation and proclaimed that our invasion of Iraq was doing God's work because it would hasten the "Second Coming". Now, my understanding that is an event associated with the Apocalypse. Is that something deemed to be a worthy Christian goal? Couldn't we, instead, follow Christ's admonition to find the Kingdom of God within? Do zealots not understand what Jesus meant? Why do they latch onto the meanderings written in the biblical book of Revelations and ignore the recorded words of Jesus?

"End of Time" prophecies existed before the biblical book of Revelations was ever written. Indeed, John of Patmos' mystic divination was influenced by many such similar writings of that time and before. Scorned by Christians of his day, his version was inspired by his extreme despair over the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. It had not a thing to do with forecasting for us the doom for our world two millennia later. Instead, what we have today from him is the groundwork for a 'self fulfilling' prophecy / a prophecy that is based on historical precedent for the region.

Indeed, Israel's geographical location has been at the crossroads between continents for thousands of years. The transmigration of people and the ideas spawned by different civilizations steadily traversed through this land. Countless wars were fought there by neighboring empires. This all created the ideal place and time for Jesus to incarnate / a social environment where the strongest monotheistic religion in the world was about to give birth to a more evolved religion.
[What made it more evolved was the teachings of Jesus.]

But, what of the mentality of the Jewish people that gave rise to the coming of Jesus? and his crucifixion? What beliefs did they hold? Which groups held such strong beliefs that they were identifiable? 
They are:
  • Zealots believed in the overthrow of the Roman Empire. They would not tolerate pagan idols and practices in their land. God would bring about the Kingdom with their help.
  • Essenes believed in withdrawing from the corrupt Temple system and the Empire. They would live holy lives in an alternative world until God brought about the Kingdom without their help.
  • Pharisees believed in radical personal holiness. They believed in internalizing their religious law, and that God would give punishment and reward in the afterlife.
  • Sadducees believed in the establishment. They made peace with Rome and focused on religious ritual. They believed divine punishment and reward happen in this life.
The Pharisees and Sadducees cooperated with the Romans and earned rebukes from Jesus -- not for that, but for rigidly ignoring the spirit behind religious law and being blind to the true spiritual needs of the people.

The Essenes largely understood the teachings of Jesus. They were highly regarded by the people. Jesus may have been an Essene.

The Zealots were the 'firebrands' that kept the rebellion against Rome fomenting. They represented the public's general inability to understand that what Jesus brought was the message about the kingdom of God that resides in each of us. It was their insane desire for Jesus to save the Jews from Roman domination that forced Pontius Pilate to accede to the demand of the Pharisees and Sadducees to execute Jesus.

And so nowadays, we have evangelistic fundamentalists in all three Abrahamic religions zealously proclaiming their holy mission to hasten the Apocalypse by facilitating such portends as given in ancient writings such as Revelations (a book that only got included in the New Testament because of the pugnaciously powerful Bishop Athanasius).

In short, Zealots have not learned the lesson that Jesus gave us already. That He had not come to save them by becoming an earthly King. He'd already resisted that when Satan tried to tempt him in the desert.

Jesus has explained to us once already that the kingdom of God is within each of us. Are zealots perhaps a bit too concrete minded in their thinking to understand? Why do they pridefully resist Christ's true inner message?