Turning The World Upside Down
The original Greek word of the New Testament pronounced pol-it-ark-ace, usually translated as the "rulers of the city," is based upon the Greek word for city, polis (see Polis). Hence also the origin of the English words politics, policy and police which all come from the same Greek word for city. When the apostle Paul (see Paul's Ministry) arrived in Thessalonica, the politicians of the city feared him, or rather feared the Gospel message that he preached, that "there is another king, Jesus." Christians were viewed as religious heretics by non-Christian Jews who failed to recognize the long-awaited Messiah when He came and as political revolutionaries by the Romans because Christians regarded the Messiah, not the Caesar, as their only King.
"These that have turned the world upside down"
Although they viewed Paul and the others who preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God as "these that have turned the world upside down" (see below), what God's servants were really doing was putting the world right. What happened in Thessalonica was typical of how they split a city into believers and non-believers, a nightmare for the "politicians."
"Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures [i.e. Christians taught from the "Old" Testament which is all that existed then; see also Which Bible Did Jesus Use?], Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few."
"But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things.
And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go." (Acts 17:1-9 KJV)
It happened again in Berea, and over and over again wherever they went.
"And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few."
"But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people. And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still. And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed." (Acts 17:10-15 KJV)
Fact Finder: What is the ultimate political and religious meaning of "patriotism"?