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Introduction

In both the Old and New Testament, those who believed in God faced persecution which
sometimes led to them being executed. In the Old Testament some prophets faced persecution
from Jezebel who later killed four-hundred prophets. In the New Testament, Stephen was killed
at the command of Saul for believing and preaching about Jesus Christ. Romans 8:17 (NIV1984)
says, Now if we are the children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if
indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may share in his glory. This verse shows that
just as Christ suffered for what he believed in and preached, we too will face persecution for
what we believe in and preach about. The following essay will highlight how each of the
Apostles was executed.

Jesus death on the cross, as described in the New Testament, has become one of the most
famous events. But what happened to the 12 disciples who were his closest followers? Not as
much information has survived about their fates, but here is whats available from various
sources, including the New Testament itself, apocryphal texts, early Christian historians, legends
and lore.

We first have a look at Simon (also known as Peter). Simon-Peter, who was appointed by Jesus
the leader of the new sect, is viewed by Roman Catholics as the first pope, was eventually
martyred in Rome during the reign of the emperor Nero. As the story goes, Peter asked to be
crucified upside down, so that his death would not be the equal of Jesus and the Romans
supposedly obliged.

Peters brother was Andrew, who was also a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to 15th
Century religious historian Dorman Newman, Andrew went to Patras in western Greece in 69
AD, where the Roman proconsul Aegeates debated religion with him. Aegeates tried to convince
Andrew to forsake Christianity, so that he would not have to torture and execute him. But when
that didnt work, apparently, he decided to give Andrew the full treatment. Andrew was
scourged, and then tied rather than nailed to a cross, so that he would suffer for a longer time
before dying. Andrew lived for two days, during which he preached to passersby.

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James the Greater was the son of Zebedee. Acts 12:1 - 19 postulates that James was killed with a
sword. The newly-appointed governor of Judea, Herod Agrippa, decided to ingratiate himself
with the Romans by persecuting leaders of the new sect. After James was arrested and led to the
place of execution, his unnamed accuser was moved by his courage. He not only repented and
converted on the spot, but asked to be executed alongside James. The Roman executioners
obliged, and both men were beheaded simultaneously.

John faced martyrdom when he was boiled in a huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of
persecution in Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered from death. He was then
sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic book of
Revelation on Patmos. The apostle John was later freed and returned to what is now modern-day
Turkey. He died peacefully as an old man sometime around 100 AD, the only apostle to die
peacefully.

The first of Jesus disciples, Philip, became a missionary in Asia. Eventually, he traveled to the
Egyptian city of Heliopolis. Like Andrew, Philip was scourged. In addition to that, he was
thrown into prison and like Saint Peter, he was crucified upside-down, in 54 AD.

Bartholomew, also known as Nathanael, supposedly preached in several countries, including


India, where he translated the Gospel of Matthew for believers. In one account, impatient
idolaters beat Bartholomew and then crucified him, while in another, he was skinned alive and
then beheaded for his preaching in Armenia.

Thomas (also called Didymus, which means the twin) preached the gospel in Greece and
India, where he angered local religious authorities. He was stabbed with a spear at Mylapore,
India, during one of his missionary trips to establish the church there.

Mathew was a tax collector turned missionary. He preached in Persia and Ethiopia. There is
disagreement as to whether or not he was martyred. According to some of the oldest sources, he
was not martyred. Other sources hold that he was martyred in Ethiopia, where he was supposedly
stabbed in the back by an swordsman sent by King Hertacus, after he criticized the kings
morals.

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James also known as James the Less, was the son of Alphaeus. According to Foxe, James, who
was elected by his fellow believers to head the churches of Jerusalem, was one of the longest-
lived apostles, perhaps exceeded only by John. He was thrown from the southeast pinnacle of the
temple (over a hundred feet down) when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they
discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat and stoned him, then killed him by hitting
him with a club. He was 94.

According to several stories, Thaddaeus (also known as Lebbaeus, Judas or Jude) was
crucified at Edessa (the name of cities in both Turkey and Greece) in 72 AD.
However, according to tradition, Jude taught in Armenia, Syria and Persia where he was
martyred. Tradition tells us he was buried in Kara Kalisa in what is now Iran.

There are conflicting traditions about the persecution of Simon the Canaanite (the Zealot).
According to Catholic.org, Western traditions hold that he was martyred in Persia with Jude,
after he refused to sacrifice to the Persian's sun god, and was killed because of it, by crucifixion,
while Eastern tradition says he died naturally in Edessa. Other sources, according to New
Advent, variously give his place of death as Samaria (Israel), or Iberia (Spain), or Colchis
(Georgia), or even Britain. Some sources dispute the crucifixion account and claim he was
instead sawn in half.

According to Matthew 27:3-6, the treacherous Judas Iscariot quickly felt remorse over his
betrayal of Jesus and went to the Temple to recant. When the high priests ignored his plea, he
threw down the 30 pieces of silver that he had been paid, and went off and hanged himself. But
Acts 1:15-20, gives a different and even grislier version of Judas demise. He says that Judas
used the blood money to purchase a piece of land and then fell headlong from a high place there,
so that he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. Jerusalem residents
subsequently named the place Aceldama, which means the field of blood.

In conclusion one can note that the beginning of the gospel was faced with upheavals, resistance
and obstacles from the existing societies as indicated above. Each and every Apostle faced a
challenge that was very much peculiar to their time of ministry and existence. The occurrences of
persecutions from different locations shows us that being an apostle was subject to much ridicule

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and segregation, in most cases an offence that was liable for murder or stoning as indicated by
the stoning of Stephen. These chain of persecutions, those that happened before Jesus culminated
in the crucifixion of Jesus and those that happened after the death of Jesus were a continuation of
the same resistance.

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Bibliography
1. http://www.prayerfoundation.org/how_apostles_died.htm
2. http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/killing-jesus/articles/how-did-the-apostles-die/
3. http://catholicism.org/how-did-the-apostles-die.html
4. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/2007/06/how-did-the-apostles-die-2/
5. https://amazingbibletimeline.com/blog/q6_apostles_die/

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