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How Did the 12 Apostles Die?
Transcript of How Did the 12 Apostles Die?
we are perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken;
cast down, but not destroyed;”
-2 Corinthians 4:8-9 The following images and information may be too much for younger viewers. Parental discretion is advised. God's People Must Suffer It is not a question of if, but of when and how severely. God's people have always suffered for the cause. While it is not a pleasant promise, it nonetheless is a promise, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." -2 Timothy 3:12
When we consider this, it brings the words of Hebrews 11:37 to life "They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;" This was true in the Old Testament. Here, a depiction of one of the prophets being "sawn asunder", as described in Hebrews 11:37 It is true in the New Testament. Here, a depiction of the stoning of Stephen. You can find the names of the Apostles in the following locations. You may add to this list the names of Matthias who was chosen after the suicide of Judas and of Paul who was one chosen to be the Apostle to the Gentiles.
Acts 1:13 The Apostles Judas Matthew 27:3-8 and Acts 1:18 are both accounts of the death of Judas. He betrayed Jesus, and in his despair he committed suicide. There are those that pretend there is a contradiction in these verses. There is not. The two accounts supplement each other. Judas hanged himself, and some time after his body was either cut down, or the rope or tree branch broke and his body fell to the ground and burst open. Not a very pretty picture, but there it is. Death of Judas James Death of James Acts 12:2 tells us of the end of James, so soon after Christianity had gotten started. He was the first martyr among the apostles. Herod Agrippa had him put to death by the sword. He saw that it pleased the Jews, so he decided to do the same to Peter, but Peter was saved by a miracle. Clemens and Eusebius tell of his death, and when the executioner witnessed the courage and un-recanting spirit of James he was convinced of Christ’s resurrection and was executed along with James. This of course is doubtful, but if true is a bold statement to the steadfast spirit of the apostles. Andrew might have been martyred in Achaia or Patrae, both of which are places in the western part of Greece. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “It is generally agreed that he was crucified by order of the Roman Governor, Aegeas or Aegeates, at Patrae in Achaia, and that he was bound, not nailed, to the cross, in order to prolong his sufferings. The cross on which he suffered is commonly held to have been the decussate cross, now known as St. Andrew’s, though the evidence for this view seems to be no older than the fourteenth century. His martyrdom took place during the reign of Nero, on 30 November, A.D. 60)” The Death of Andrew There is a book entitled “The Martyrdom of Bartholomew,” in which this apostle’s tale is told. Again this is tradition and legend, but it is in keeping with what one would expect from an apostle of our Lord. “And when he had thus spoken, the king was informed that this god Baldad and all the other idols had fallen down, and were broken in pieces. Then the king rent the purple in which he was clothed, and ordered the holy apostle Bartholomew to be beaten with rods; and after having been thus scourged, to be beheaded.”
According to Eusebius, a Christian writer who lived during the 4th century AD, Bartholomew traveled to India to preach to the people there, leaving behind a copy of the Gospel of Matthew: “Pantaenous is said to have gone among the Indians where a report is that he discovered there the Gospel according to St. Matthew among some who knew Christ; Bartholomew, one of the Apostles had preached to them and had left them the writings of St. Matthew in Hebrew letters.” The Death of Bartholomew Bartholomew Andrew James the son of Alpheus The Death of James According to Foxs’ Book of Martyrs, was beaten, stoned and clubbed to death. In another account, in order to make James deny Christ’s resurrection, men positioned him at the top of the Temple for all to see and hear. James, unwilling to deny what he knew to be true, was cast down from the Temple and finally beaten to death with a fuller’s club to the head. Peter The Death of the Apostle Peter Made his way to Rome where history tells us that he was crucified upside down, feeling he was unworthy to die in the same way as Jesus. However, it is highly unlikely that such a request would be granted. Some hold that he was crucified on the same day that Paul was beheaded, during the reign of Nero. Thomas Death of Thomas It seems that Thomas, having once doubted the risen Lord, was in the end no doubter at all. History tells us he made a brave death as he was thrust through with pine spears, then tortured with red hot plates on his body, and finally burned alive. He would not deny the risen Christ. Philip Death of Philip Philip evangelized in Phrygia where hostile Jews had him tortured and then crucified upside down. Some sources have him being stoned to death. Matthew Death of Matthew The one-time tax collector died at the end of a halberd according to Foxs’ Book of Martyrs. “The scene of his labors was Parthia, and Ethiopia, in which latter country he suffered martyrdom, being slain with a halbred in the city of Nadabah, A.D. 60.” Simon Death of the Simon Historians tell of the many different places that Simon proclaimed the good news of Christ’s resurrection: Egypt, Cyrene, Africa, Mauritania, Britain, Lybia, and Persia. His rest finally came when he verified his testimony and went to be with Christ, being crucified by a governor in Syria. Other sources have him listed as being sawed in half in Suanir, Persia. Thaddeus Death of Thaddeus According to historians, Judas Thaddeus was preaching the risen Christ to those in Mesopotamia in the midst of pagan priests. He was beaten to death with sticks. Matthias Death of Matthias Matthias replaced Judas, and worked in Ethiopia. Most traditions show him as being stoned there in Chochis. There are some who have him being executed in Jerusalem by stoning, and then beheaded. John Exile of John It seems that John alone was spared a violent death. A prolific author, having written The Gospel According to John, 1, 2, and 3 John and then he writes The Revelation of Jesus Christ from exile on Patmos. It seems that he lived to a very old age, dieing around AD 100. Disciples I think it is important to stop and think that not only the apostles, but the Christians of the first years of Christianity suffered greatly. The book of Revelation spoke to them directly, and assured them that while persecution would continue, in the end Christianity cannot be defeated because we have put our faith in Jesus and He is able to deliver us, even after death. Their faith continues as a shining beacon to encourage us in our struggles as we find ourselves in a more perverse world every day that is steadily drifting farther from the truth of the word of God. Luke A. Griffin
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