HOW THE APOSTLES AND OTHERS DIED
The Apostles of Christ were called to the noble activity ever given to the sons of men. They are princes in heaven, with their names engraved on the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem; i.e., they play a pivotal role in the gathering of mankind to God. Notwithstanding this circumstance, they were unanimously rejected by the wisdom of this world. With the exception of John the Beloved, each of them suffered a martyr's death for the cause of the Lord Jesus. What is more, many of them were killed in the remote parts of the world.
I have often heard men declare that vast segments of this world have never heard the Gospel of Christ. This is not the whole truth! The Holy Spirit, speaking through Paul the Apostle, declared well before the end of the first century, "This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven" (Colossians 1:23, NIV). The world, then, is not as innocent as some would have us believe! The martyrdom of the Apostles of the Lamb will serve to illustrate the case in point. My heart is broken for those holy men, slain by sinful men. Many of the dark continents of the world are in their condition because they spurned the good word of the Gospel in the very first century! The world was not worthy of these champions of the Gospel, and will again face them on the day of judgement. The tables will be turned hen, as the saints judge the world!
Well before the end of the first century, the Gospel had been preached in Upper Asia, Phrygia, Parthia, Ethopia, Asiatic nations, Edessa, Greece, Italy, India, Africa, and Britain. The following history, taken from Foxes Book of Martyrs, unveils this remarkable spread of the Good News. Without modern technology or modes of transportation now employed, these men spread the Word with remarkable efficiency.
Philip--Was born at Bethsaida, in Galilee and was first called by the name of "disciple." He labored diligently in Upper Asia, and suffered martyrdom at Heliopolis, in Phrygia. He was scourged, thrown into prison, and afterwards crucified, A.D. 54. Philip also preached in Syria).
Matthew--His occupation was that of a toll-gatherer, was born at Nazareth. He wrote his gospel in Hebrew, which was afterwards translated into Greek by James the Less. The scene of his labors was Parthia, and Ethiopia, in which latter country he suffered martyrdom, being slain with a halberd in the city of Nadabah, A.D. 60. (Matthew also preached in Macedonia, Syria, Persia, and Media.)
James the Less--Is supposed by some to have been the brother of our Lord, by a former wife of Joseph. This is very doubtful, and accords too much with the Catholic superstition, that Mary never had any other children except our Savior. He was elected to the oversight of the churches of Jerusalem; and was the author of the epistle ascribed to James in the sacred canon. At the age of ninety-four he was beat and stoned by the Jews; and finally had his brains dashed out with a fuller's club.
Matthias--Of whom less is known than of most of the other disciples, was elected to fill the vacant place of Judas. He was stoned at Jerusalem and then beheaded. (Matthias preached also preached in Ethiopia.
Andrew--Was the brother of Peter. He preached the gospel to many Asiatic nations; but on his arrival at Edessa he was taken and crucified on a cross, the two ends of which were fixed transversely in the ground. Hence the derivation of the term, St. Andrew's Cross. (Andrew labored in Sythia, North of the Red Sea --Russia.)
St. Mark--Was born of Jewish parents of the tribe of Levi. He is supposed to have been converted to Christianity by Peter, whom he served as an amanuensis, and under whose inspection he wrote his Gospel in the Greek language. Mark was dragged to pieces by the people of Alexandria, at the great solemnity of Serapis their idol, ending his life under their merciless hands.
Peter--Among many other saints, the blessed apostle Peter was condemned to death, and crucified, as some do write, at Rome; albeit some others, and not without cause, do doubt thereof. Hegesippus saith that Nero sought matter against Peter to put him to death; which, when the people perceived, they entreated Peter with much ado that he would fly the city. Peter, through their importunity at length persuaded, prepared himself to avoid. But, coming to the gate, he saw the Lord Christ come to meet him, to whom he, worshiping, said, "Lord, whither dost Thou go?" To whom He answered and said, "I am come again to be crucified." By this, Peter, perceiving his suffering to be understood, returned into the city. Jerome saith that he was crucified, his head being down and his feet upward, himself so requiring, because he was (he said) unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as the Lord was.
Paul--Paul, the apostle, who before was called Saul, after his great travail and unspeakable labors in promoting the Gospel of Christ, suffered also in this first persecution under Nero. Abdias, declareth that under his execution Nero sent two of his esquires, Ferega and Parthemius, to bring him word of his dea th. They, coming to Paul instructing the people, desired him to pray for them, that they might believe; who told them that shortly after they should believe and be baptized at His sepulcher. This done, the soldiers came and led him out of the city to the place of execution, where he, after his prayers made, gave his neck to the sword.
Jude--The brother of James, was commonly called Thaddeus. He was crucified at Edessa, A.D. 72. (Jude also preached in Egypt.)
Bartholomew--Preached in several countries, and having translated the Gospel of Matthew into the language of India, he propagated it in that country. He was at length cruelly beaten and then crucified by the impatient idolaters. (Barthomew also preached in Armenia.)
Thomas--Called Didymus, preached the Gospel in Parthia and India, where exciting the rage of the pagan priests, he was martyred by being thrust through with a spear. (Thomas also preached in Persia and the East Indies).
Luke--The evangelist, was the author of the Gospel which goes under his name. He traveled with Paul through various countries, and is supposed to have been hanged on an olive tree, by the idolatrous priests of Greece.
Simon--Surnamed Zelotes, preached the Gospel in Mauritania, Africa, and even in Britain, in which latter country he was crucified, A.D. 74.
John--The "beloved disciple," was brother to James the Great. The churches of Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and Thyatira, were founded by him. From Ephesus he was ordered to be sent to Rome, where it is affirmed he was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil. He escaped by miracle, without injury. Domitian afterwards banished him to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. Nerva, the successor of Domitian, recalled him. He was the only apostle who escaped a violent death.
Barnabas--Was of Cyprus, but of Jewish descent, his death is supposed to have taken place about A.D.
73. (Barnabas was stoned to death by Jews in Salonia.