Be Thankful You Were Not One of Jesus’s Chosen Twelve
Thank you, Tina Campbell & Jeremy Spring for your invaluable contribution to this story.
No modern secular historian would challenge the fact that Jesus existed. He was a man, a preacher and teacher, claiming to be God incarnate, was crucified for those claims, was buried AND three days later his body disappeared from a sealed, guarded tomb. There has been all manner of stories concocted to explain away His disappearance. Curiously, on the other hand, the first place archaeologists turn for information as to where to start a dig is the bible. It has repeatedly proven to be completely accurate, providing clues as to where to dig even when the prevailing consensus said otherwise. So, if the bible is archaeologically accurate, why would historians not believe the biblical accounts of Jesus’s life?
I think they don't want to because they would then become accountable to a higher power!
People can argue all day long about the validity and accuracy of the biblical stories, but it is ridiculously hard for any reasonable person to argue with an individual’s personal story of salvation - their changed life. I’ve shared many of those here on the ourhighplaces.com website.
The Apostle Paul; the self-proclaimed ‘Pharisee of Pharisees,’ trying to eradicate the believers of "The Way,” hunted down Christians, arresting, and executing many of them until he ultimately became a believer himself. So too, every-day people have had their lives completely and radically changed by accepting the gift of forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ. Suicides averted, marriages salvaged, hope restored, rescued from drugs, alcohol, homelessness, prostitution, homosexuality, Satanism and witchcraft or any combination thereof, their stories are unique and innumerable. Statistically, the proof is overwhelming - beyond dispute. Every Christian has at least one miracle story in their life but too many are embarrassed to share it. Don’t be. You are a new creation in Christ. The old has died, the new has come. Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5-17. Satan loses his power to hang guilt over your head when you tell your story, and the rest of us sinners have no right!
But back to the historical record... Except for the Apostle John who survived martyrdom, the most powerful argument, proof that Jesus was who he said he was, is what His 12 closest followers endured after His resurrection. They went into hiding after His crucifixion, fearing they too would be arrested and executed. If Jesus was just a delusional phony, a charlatan, whose message died with him, these men would have been the worse kind of fools to continue to perpetrate His lies knowing what their fate would be if caught.
Yet, at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit; who Jesus said He would send to them after He ascended, descended upon these “cowards,” they were radically and irrevocably changed men. These ordinary, uneducated fishermen boldly went out preaching a resurrected Christ. They testified that (1) he was the Messiah, the one whose coming was foretold in scripture. (2) they saw Jesus crucified, dying on the cross, taken down and buried, sealed in a stone tomb (3) He was seen in the flesh eight separate times following His resurrection, and finally (5) eleven of the twelve original apostles watched Jesus’s ascension into heaven.
(Don Stewart: To Whom Did Jesus Appear After His Death?)
HOW THE APOSTLES DIED. Thank you Tina Campbell
1. Matthew: Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, killed by a sword wound.
2. Mark: Died in Alexandria, Egypt, after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.
3. Luke: Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.
4. John: Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution In Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison Island of Patmos. He authored his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos. The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve As Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey. He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.
5. Peter: He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross. According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus Christ had died.
6. James (Jesus’s ½ brother): The leader of the church in Jerusalem, was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. (This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during The Temptation.) When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller's club. (A baseball bat-like club with spikes imbedded in it.)
7. James the Son of Zebedee: was a fisherman by trade when Jesus Called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was beheaded in Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.
8. Bartholomew: Also known as Nathaniel was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey. Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip. (You don't want to know)
9. Andrew: Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: 'I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.' He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired.
10. Thomas: Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the Sub-continent.
11. Jude: Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.
12. Matthias: The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned, and then beheaded.
13. And Paul (Saul): Who was not technically an apostle was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, which taught many of the foundational Doctrines of Christianity, form a substantial portion of the New Testament.
Perhaps this is a reminder to us that our sufferings here are indeed minor compared to the intense persecution and cold cruelty faced by the apostles and disciples during their times for the sake of the Faith. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: But he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 10:22.
Thank you to Jeremy Spring who added: Dr. Sean McDowell did a deep dive doctoral thesis on the historicity of all the apostles and the legend of their martyrdom.
He then rates the historical data to determine who definitely were martyred, most likely, possibly, or inconclusively. It is quite interesting.
Mind you, what is true no matter what, is all these guys were willing to die for the truth of Jesus and the survival of our scriptures revealing God to us through Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
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