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What Happened To The Apostles?

Some have commented how wonderful it must have been to have been chosen as one of the apostles, or to have been John the Baptist, or to have been among the earliest of Christians who actually saw and heard Jesus Christ in person. It certainly would have been a great honor and joy to have been among those pioneers of the true church.

A New Day However, with the knowledge and understanding came responsibility. They were expected to go out into the world and be active witnesses of what they saw and heard. That was their purpose. In the political and religious climate of that time, the God-defying hatred that got Jesus Christ killed (which really has not changed at all), many of them lost their lives as well.

The Bible does not record what happened to all of the apostles, however there are other references to their activities. Some are rather fanciful, while some are more trustworthy. From those sources, a general consensus has been established among historians.

From the information that we have, it is very likely that John was the only one of the original Twelve Apostles to escape martyrdom, at least at an early age. After he wrote the book of Revelation, while a prisoner of the Romans (see Ancient Empires - Rome), even he too may then have been killed.

John The Baptist

John The Baptist was beheaded by Herod. (Matthew 14:1-12) (see Herod The Great and The Herods)

Stephen

The account of Stephen is very well documented in the Bible (Acts chapters 6 and 7). He is generally regarded as the first Christian martyr.

It has been estimated that about 2,000 Christians, along with Nicanor, one of the seven deacons (Acts 6:5), also suffered martyrdom during the great persecution that arose after Stephen (Acts 8:1).

James, the brother of John

James was "put to death with the sword" by King Herod (Acts 12:2)

Philip

Reportedly suffered martyrdom at Heliopolis, in Phrygia. He was severely flogged, imprisoned, and later crucified.

Matthew

The former tax collector, he was killed with a halberd (a pike fitted with an ax head) in Nadabah.

James

Stoned and clubbed to death in Jerusalem.

Matthias

He was stoned, then beheaded at Jerusalem.

Andrew, the brother of Peter

He was crucified on an X-shaped cross, two ends of which were in the ground. Hence the origin of the term, "St. Andrew's Cross".

Mark

Mark was reportedly torn to pieces by a mob in Alexandria after he told them that their god, a statue carved from stone, was worthless (see Images and Idols).

Peter

Peter was reportedly crucified, upside down, during the reign of Emperor Nero.

Paul

Beheaded, or torn to pieces by wild animals in the arena, during the time of Nero. See On The Road To Damascus, Paul In Athens, Paul In Rome, Paul's First Missionary Journey, Paul's Journey To Rome, Paul's Second Missionary Journey and Paul's Third Missionary Journey.

Jude

The brother of James, often called Thaddeus. He was crucified at Edessa.

Bartholomew

Tortured and crucified in India.

Thomas

Thomas was reportedly killed with a spear in India.

Luke

Luke was the author of the Gospel which is called by his name, and also probably the Book Of Acts. One account states that he died of old age, while another says that he was hanged in an olive tree in Greece.

Simon the Zealot

He traveled widely, and is believed to have been crucified in what is today Britain.

John

John took care of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ (not the mother of God), after the Crucifixion (John 19:26-27). He went on to write the Book of Revelation while a prisoner on Patmos. He may be the only apostle who escaped a violent death.

Barnabas

Barnabas is believed to have been killed about 10 years after Paul.

Fact Finder: What future positions will the original twelve apostles occupy?
Luke 22:29-30, Revelation 21:10-14


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