The Legend of
you read it correctly, a legend in his own mind
gentlemen the story you are about to read is true, only the names
have been changed to protect the innocent.
Joking aside, this is not
written to be funny, nor to indict or disparage anyone. There are
valuable bible lessons here that should become obvious.
UPDATE: I am thrilled to report all these years later, that by all appearance having matured some in the faith; "Zack the Zealot" is not the same man described herein.
Now he appears to be just Zack, the servant of Jesus Christ!
However, these spiritual lessons are too important to let them go to waste. I hope readers will learn from them.
Years ago a
young man began working at a major grocery chain near my home.
Let's call him "Zack".
suppose he had worked there since his high school days. I got to know
him fairly well over the years watching him grow up. As the years
passed, he began to ask me business advice for his little side
business. It was in a field for which I had a great deal of knowledge
Then one day
about nine years ago, I walked in and Zack's face was beaming. He
looked like he was about to explode. So I took the bait and asked him
what was going on. Suddenly, like a storm cloud bursting forth with a
downpour of rain, Zack began to tell me how he had gotten saved.
afterward, I affectionately nicknamed him “Zack the Zealot”.
Because typical of new believers, he was packed with zeal and void of
any wisdom or scriptural knowledge. He was going to change the world;
and at last he would be the one to set the church on a right path,
after two tousand years of error. Like most young zealots, Zack
seemed to be the only one on earth who didn't recognize his multiple
Zealot was especially proud of the fact that he attended this mega
church. It was apparently en vogue and the place for the "A-List Super Spiritual Elite"
to be seen. His
pastor was a local celebrity pastor, with followers who
he was a prophet. I'd heard people say that speaking privately with him
was like speaking with the Apostle Paul. WOW! Let me say, while I don't
always agree with Zack's
pastor, I have a great deal of respect for him on several levels. No
one can deny his courage and conviction, nor his commitment to Jesus
That is a most important trilogy in my estimation; and he is everything
they claim in that regard. But the Apostle Paul? Obviously, they need
to re-read "The Acts of the Apsotles".
Zealot began talking with me rather
freely about the word, which I enjoyed. But the blend of his excessive
assurance, and his excessive scriptural ignorance, often became almost
unbearable. A little went a long way. I began to wonder whether Zack
been cloned from another man I knew named; ...well let's call him
John was still being spiritually potty trained, he strutted around town
with a bible stuck in his hip pocket like a "banty rooster" as we say in the South. There's nothing wrong with
the bible part of that, except John was cocked and ready to set anyone straight who
disagreed with him. Please understand, I love Brother John. He is a
very special brother to me. But my love for him
doesn't delete his history of making dirty diapers. We all have such a
history; it's part of growing up to maturity.
interested in spiritual gifts and manifestations. So I told him about
William Branham. I affectionately refer to Brother Branham as
BroBran, and proudly call him my spiritual father in the faith. I
told John that while BroBran passed away in 1965, I had a
library full of
his teachings. John asked, so I loaned him a BroBran teaching tape.
returned the tape he nodded his approval, and then he said the teaching was pretty good. But then he
said, "...if I
could talk to that man I could set him straight on a couple of
things...." John was 18-months old in the Lord; and he was
going to set
slightly familiar with BroBran would blush at that statement. I have
had the good fortune of knowing not a little Greek. I have owned and
Kittle since 1979. Anyone familiar with Big Kittle knows what I mean by
nearly four decades I've used A.T. Robertson, Edersheim, Scroggie,
Brown-Driver-Briggs, Ante Nicene Fathers, the Colonel, and other exhaustive and
invaluable sources. Yet I have as great, or greater reverence for
understanding of the Word as any of those scholars.
NOTE ABOUT BROBRAN:
In my teachings you may find I refer to BroBran freely. I refer to him
as my spiritual father in the faith. I do not preach William Branham, I
preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified! Nor do I put my brain on a shelf
anyone! I do not accept any teaching that does not match
scripture, as best as I
understand it! But anyone who understands what BroBran meant by what he
said, and is familiar with his communication, and how he taught; they would
find that his teachings agree more often than not
with all the aforementioned scholars. I refuse to sever my sacred bond
with him because a few foolishly deified him, or held his teachings as
infallible, or baptized one another in his name, or twisted his words
to say things BroBran neither said or meant. Many twisted Jesus'
teachings, made Paul their idol, even baptized in Paul's name. None of
that changes how I feel about Jesus or Paul; nor does any of it change my
feelings for BroBran.
But I digress.
As John spoke so arrogantly and self assured, all I
could think about was how many
critics had tried that with BroBran. Usually, when they came into
proximity, they would feel the presence of the Angel of the Lord. He
stood next to BroBran in those meetings. By that time, they would come
to their senses and chicken out.
came with such arrogance, such self assurance, and so determined to
trick BroBran, it was like
when the Pharisees often tried to trick Jesus. So by the
time some critics sensed the angel's presence, they had already gone
too far, they had crossed that dead line. Then
they would typically fall on their faces, grab the cuffs of
BroBran's trousers, and beg for mercy. Usually,
it was too late. Most were hauled out of the meetings, often crippled
for life. Sometimes, years later BroBran would get letters from them
begging for mercy. But it wasn't BroBran who they had challenged, who
they had insulted, or who struck them.
was under-qualified to do what he averred. If he'd had such an
opportunity and tried to set BroBran
"straight", he could have easily ended up in a "straight-jacket" in some mental institution; pun
John's arrogant sake, I'm glad he was not able to “set
man straight” to use his words. Thankfully, by all
appearance John has outgrown much of that arrogance and pride, as
well as the residual baggage that came with it.
previously stated, there were times when Zack the Zealot seemed like
he was genetically cloned from John. It was that same spirit of
arrogance, and desiring the preeminence, wanting to be first.
Within a few weeks, I was checking out my groceries
and Zack found out I was a
preacher. He asked where we were going to church. I told him we were
still looking. For years, we were unable to attend church because we
had been severely poisoned. Our immune systems had been so ravaged by
the poisoning that we were left with environmental sensitivities and
allergies. And my wife was bedridden for over four years. He said,
"why didn't YOU go?"
I tried to explain how she couldn't be left alone back then, and
situation was just really complicated. Exposures to perfumes can
devastating; it's just too complicated to describe in two or three
minutes in a check out line. Plus, I didn't want everyone standing
around us hearing so much of our private health information.
Suddenly, it was like I was being cross
examined by Zack the
Zealot, in front of the other
customers. I was trying to avoid being
misjudged again. But it didn't work.
Zealot looked at me with such contempt, like I was anathema for
missing a single Sunday service. Now he was going to set me straight.
firing scripture at me, but apparently was a bad shot because missed every
the next time I came in to shop, he had his big
with him. This thing was bigger than a telephone
directory; and almost the size of my big 50-year old green Strong's
Concordance. It was one with notes in the margin. It was as out of
place as if he'd brought a big bore elephant gun to a
he failed to win his debate on scripture. So he fell back to position
with his bible's commentary. He pointed out one of the
from Acts 3:46. When that failed even worse, he then cited his
As his voice
pitched higher, his anxiety grew more palpable. Then he said , "...I
go to XYZ Church, and John Doe is my pastor, and he is a prophet, and
I know he's right, and I'm standing with Pastor John Doe...."
But Zack the Zealot was
green, he was
wrong, and he had a wrong spirit.
could have shredded Zack the Zealot like oatmeal in front of everyone
that day; with the word, with early church history, with general
history, and with our several pounds of medical records; but I didn't.
What would have been the point? I'd rather he look like an immature
jerk, than for me look like a "Bible
standing by shook their heads in disbelief at his immaturity. Had I
been his pastor and found out about it, he would have been in my
office before he was allowed back into my congregation.
But I was
publicly subjected to his immaturity when all I was trying to do was
buy groceries. The reason? Because he didn't understand the war I had
been fighting; and because I refused to agree with him when I knew he was
wrong about our unique circumstances; and because he was simply too
immature in every way, and on every level to realize he didn't know
everything. In fact, he didn't
realize how little he actually did know, and
therefore was under-qualified to sit as my judge, or anyone else's.
I was speaking with another employee there. When I mentioned how I
had a disagreement with someone there over a doctrinal issue, they
busted out laughing. Then they blurted out, “...oh,
that musta' been Zack....” Zack
the Zealot has
a reputation that precedes him. I'm not sure the Lord is going around bragging to satan, the angels, and the principalities, "Have you considerd my servant Zack?"
I doubt Zack
the Zealot has spoken 20 words to me in the 8-10 years since that
incident. I go there a few times each week, and he generally avoids
me. That's a lot of silence, It's a lot of avoidance. It's a lot of
happened in the case with Zack the Zealot?
he showed me and everyone present he was void of maturity, spiritual
he showed he was unteachable; as he didn't listen to anything I
he was not walking in love; and its doubtful he even knew then what "agape" is, or means.
he was not filled with the Holy Spirit; regardless of whether or not
he spoke in tongues.
he knew he was wrong, otherwise he would not have been wroth, and his
countenance would not have fallen, just like his mentor Cain.
don't go around telling people you serve Jesus Christ, and
without any provocation, publicly act like Zack the Zealot did
If I had
been an unbeliever and witnessed that kind of unprovoked conduct, I
would never want to listen to Zack the Zealot share the gospel, nor
would I ever want to go to his church!
argue over scripture. BroBran taught and practiced this
philosophy saying, "...if the
Holy Spirit can't
change their heart, who do I think I am that I can...."
It was an issue important enough for the Apostle Paul to warn
Titus and Timothy. He ordered them to, "...avoid
foolish questions...and debates...."
Actually, from the Greek text one could accurately paraphrase
this way, "...never take
questions from or debate
with a moron...."
not our weapon of choice. That is not how Spirit Filled warriors deal
with critics. Critics and other opponents are better left for God to
deal with. God may have you challenge them to a Mount Carmel meeting,
like spiritual dueling. But God is the One who responds and brings
about the results, not us.
taught us another good life maxim, "...if
brothers can't talk about the bible all day long and disagree, yet still
love each other as much as if they agreed, then somebody's a lyin'
about bein' a Christian..."
So if you
cannot agree with someone, first examine yourself to see if you may
be the one who is wrong. If you find you are correct, then pray for
your adversary. And most of all, no matter how they act toward you,
love them. God can bring them to their knees and make them come to
you. He can even make them beg you to share the truth with them one
more time. I know whereof I speak.
the mistakes John and Zack the Zealot made. Dirty diapers stink! In
Romans 12:3, the Apostle Paul commanded "...every
to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think
He is telling every one of us to make a sober evaluation of who we
are, our level of knowledge and maturity, how we must walk in that
level, and how
we must progress up to the next level. After eleven chapters of
theology, Paul changes gears in chapter twelve. Now he begins giving
it to us straight, plain old practical Christianity. Actually,
in those first few verses he covers body, soul, and spirit; and
carefully lays a foundation for how to know and operate in functional
making that "sober evaluation",
if you should reach the conclusion that you think you are spiritually
and scripturally mature, then act like it!
publicly the way Zack the Zealot did that day! It dishonors the Lord.
- GERRY PHILLIPS - 1955-2015
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED