Thieleman J. Van Braght, Martyrs Mirror

41. The Apostle Simon

Simon the Zealot Crucified in Syria, A.D. 70

Simon Zelotes And His Brother Judas Thaddeus, Both Slain For The Truth Of Christ; The One Crucified, And The Other Beaten To Death With Sticks, About A.D. 70

Simon the Canaanite, surnamed Zelotes, that is, Zealot, the son of Alpheus, the brother of James, Joses, and Juda, and a relative of Christ, was constituted by Christ one of His twelve apostles, to preach the Gospel, first among the Jews, and afterwards among the heathen; to which end he, together with the others who were in like ministry with him, received the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. Matt. 10:4; Acts 1:13; Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3.

He traveled in Egypt, Cyrene, Africa, Mauritania, throughout Lybia, and in the islands of Great Britain, where he preached the Gospel. Isid. de Vita et Mort. 5, 5. Niceph., lib. 2, cap. 40.

Afterwards having preached everywhere, writes N. D. C., he came to the Western Sea, also into England, and their neighboring places.

Finally, it is stated by others, he went to Persia, where he found his brother Judas. Continuing together steadfastly in the duties of their apostleship, they sealed the divine truth with their blood.

Concerning Simon Zelotes in particular, it is stated that he was crucified in a very painful way by a certain governor in Syria. Bybelsch Ncembceck, Letter S. on the name Simon, fol. 570, col. 1, from Eus. and Niceph., and Hist. Andra?, fol. 18, Konst-tooneel van veertig, in the life of Simon Zelotes.

As regards his brother Judas, surnamed Lebbeus, and also, Thaddeus, who was likewise an apostle of Jesus Christ, nothing is said of him in Evangelical history; only there is mention made of a question which he asked the Lord Jesus, saying, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; John 14:22.

It was this apostle who also wrote a comforting letter to the believers, in which he admonishes them to remain steadfast in the faith once received; and threatens the unbelievers with the severe judgment of God.

In accordance with the division of the world made by the apostles for the preaching of the Gospel, he traveled in Mesopotamia, Syria, Arabia, and as far as Edessa. Finally, having gone to Persia, he there reproved and opposed the pagan idolatry; on which account he was beaten to death by the idolatrous priests, who were losing their gain. Isidor and Niceph., Sabell Enece 7, lib. 14 Bybelsch Noemboeck, letter /., on the name of Judas Thaddeus, fol. 595. Konst-tooneel, etc., in the life of Judas Thaddeus, or Lebbeus.

Simon the Canaanite, or Zelotes, who was a son of Alpheus, is not distinguished by some from Simon the bishop at Jerusalem, who was a son of Cleophas; hence has originated the error that Simon Zelotes is said to have been killed A. D. 108. (see Byb. Ncemb., fol. 870, col. 1), which, properly, is to be understood of Simon, the bishop at Jerusalem, the son of Cleophas; for Simon Zelotes and his brother Judas Thaddeus, according to testimony, were killed towards the close of the persecution by Nero, or about A. D. 70.

Thieleman J. Van Braght (1625-1664) was an Anabaptist who is best known for writing a history of the Christian witness throughout the centuries entitled “The Bloody Theater or Martyrs Mirror of the Defenseless Christians who baptized only upon confession of faith, and who suffered and died for the testimony of Jesus, their Saviour, from the time of Christ to the year A.D. 1660” (1660).

Thieleman J. Van Braght, Martyrs Mirror