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Matthew 10:2-4: 2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
APOSTLE PETER, AD 69
Peter (Simon) was a Galilean fisherman who lived on the shores of the Sea of Galilee with his wife, his brother Andrew and his mother-in-law. Peter met Jesus at Bethany through his brother Andrew, and was immediately impressed (Matthew 4:18-20). He was called Peter or Cephas. Peter worked among the Jews before he eventually reached Rome, where he was traditionally the first bishop. He was crucified in Rome upside down on an x-shaped cross. According to church tradition it was because Peter told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way Jesus Christ had died (John 21:18-19).
APOSTLE ANDREW, AD 69
Andrew was Peter’s younger brother, the first to accept Yeshua who then introduced Peter to Jesus (Matthew 4:18). In his latter ministry, it is believed that Andrew went to the foothills of the Caucasus mountains (present day Georgia in Eastern Europe.) While there, he preached to the Scythians as far as the Caspian Sea. He also went to Byzantium which is present day Istanbul in Turkey and from there, to Greece. In fact, he traveled to Thrace and Macedonia, down through the Corinthian Gulf to Patros. It was in Patros that Andrew was martyred. Andrew hung upon the cross three whole days, suffering dreadful pain but continuing constantly to tell the people around him of the love of Jesus Christ. The people, as they listened to him, began to believe his words and asked the governor to let him be taken down from the cross. Not liking to refuse them, he at last ordered the ropes to be cut but when the last rope was severed, the body of the apostle fell to the ground quite dead. It is believed that Andrew died on the last day of November, 69 AD.
APOSTLE JAMES, AD 45
James, Son of Zebedee, also called “James the Greater”, was a fisherman by trade when Yeshua called him to a lifetime ministry “to fish for men.” (Matthew 4:21). He was a strong leader. He preached in Jerusalem and Judea, modern Israel. During the persecutions of Herod Agrippa, James was killed by the sword (reference to beheaded) in Jerusalem (Acts 12).
APOSTLE JOHN (AD 100)
(Matthew 10:2) John, or John the Beloved as he was known, was the brother of James (son of Zebedee). John served as one of the Apostles. Often, instead of telling his version of an event or parable the others had already written about, he writes about things the other writers did not include. He took Mary, the mother of Yeshua as his adopted mother. He preached in Jerusalem and worked among the churches of Asia. He Faced his death when he was boiled in a huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome. He was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos. He is the author of the book of Revelation in The Bible. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos. Many years later the Apostle John was freed and served as Bishop of Edessa in modern day Turkey. John died a quite old man, the only apostle to die peacefully in Ephesus.
APOSTLE PHILIP, AD 54
Jesus came right to him. John’s Gospel tells us, “The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow Me’ ” (John 1:43). Philip preached the Gospel in Phrygia (west central Turkey) before being martyred there at Hieropolis. Philip laid his life down for Christ, being stoned to death after reaching many with the gospel.
He was one of the disciples of Yeshua (Matthew 10:2-3). He was also known as Nathanael (John 1:45-49). John 20:19 records that he was one of the disciples who saw the resurrected Christ. Andrew was originally a disciple of John the Baptist. After the death and resurrection of Jesus, claims are that Andrew preached in Achaia (southern Greece) and Scythia (Ukraine and southern Russia). He was crucified on a x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being severely whipped by seven soldiers, they then tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led to the cross, Andrew embraced his situation with these words: “I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.” Andrew continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he died.
APOSTLE THOMAS, AD 70
(Matthew 10:4) Thomas may have laboured for the Gospel in Parthia (including modern Iraq and Iran), but stronger traditions link him with southern India. Indian Christians from the west coast Kerala area claim they were evangelized by Thomas, who was later speared to death near Madras (India) on the east coast during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the Sub-continent.
APOSTLE MATTHEW, AD 70
Matthew (Levi) was a publican, or tax collector, before he was called as one of the Lord’s Apostles (Matthew 9:9). In his book, Matthew often stresses that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and came to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies. Matthew wrote specifically to the Jews, who were familiar with those prophecies. Different traditions place his missionary work Ethiopia or Persia, where he was killed by a sword (reference to beheading).
James was the son of Alphaeus (Matthew 10:3). He was known as James the Less, to distuinguish him from James the Greater, son of Zebedee, but more likely because of his smaller stature than his relative importance. Tradition claims he first worked in Palestine before preaching and martyrdom in Egypt.
Jude or Thaddaeus (Mark 3:18): He may have preached in Assyria (eastern Iraq), before joining with Simon the Zealot and being killed with him in Persia.
He is referred to as the “Cananean” (Matthew 10:4) and the “Zealot”. He first preached in Egypt, before joining Jude and travelling to Persia, where both were martyred. Simon may have been crucified or hacked to death.
APOSTLE JUDAS ISCARIOT
We can read in Matthew 10:4 that he was one of the apostles who later betrayed Yeshua (Mark 14:10 ; Matthew 27:3-10). He hanged himself (Matthew 27:5). His fate is described by Luke in Acts, how his body swelled up and his intestines burst (Acts 1:18-19).
JOHN THE BAPTIST, AD 23
Dressed in a camel’s hair garment and a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild honey. He told the crowds that came to see him that they needed to repent and that the Kingdom of God was at hand. He preached the same message as Jesus Christ the Messiah and prepared the way for Him (Matthew 3). He was beheaded by Herod (Mark 6:14-29).
STEPHEN, AD 34
Acts 6:5 introduces a faithful man of God named Stephen: “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.” God inspired him to speak boldly, rightly accusing Israel of their failure to recognize Jesus, their Messiah, rejecting and murdering Him, as they had murdered Zechariah and other prophets and faithful men throughout their generations. He was stoned to death (Acts 7).
JAMES, AD 63
James (the brother of Jesus): James was called a son of Mary and Joseph (Matthew 13:55). He becomes one of the earliest witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:7). He then stays in Jerusalem and forms part of the group of believers who pray in the upper room (Acts 1:14). From that time forward, James’ status within the Jerusalem church begins to grow. He was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southwest pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When his enemies discovered he survived the fall, they beat James to death with a fuller’s club.
BARNABAS, AD 64
In the book of Acts, we find a Levite from Cyprus named Joses (Acts 4:36) whom the apostles called Barnabas. He is referred to as a “good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith.” Through his ministry, “a great number of people were brought to the Lord” (Acts 11:22-24). Paul uses Barnabas as an example of one with a proper perspective on money and property. When he sold his land, he brought the proceeds to the apostles and laid it at their feet (Acts 4:36-37). He preached throughout Italy and Cyprus. Barnabas was stoned to death at Salonica.
MARK, AD 64
The apostle Mark was also a follower of Jesus Christ but would likely have been in his teens when the Lord was in Jerusalem. His mother was a prominent follower of Jesus Christ. Acts 12:12 tells us that her house in Jerusalem was used as a meeting place for other disciples. From this verse we also learn that her son’s full name is John Mark. After the Resurrection, as the Savior’s message was beginning to be spread, Mark traveled with the Apostle Paul. He then accompanied the Apostle Peter to Rome and stayed by him while he was in prison. Mark is known as Peter’s interpreter, both in speech and in writing. He died in Alexandria, Egypt after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.
PAUL, AD 67
Paul when he was Saul of Tarsus, was standing over the first Christian martyr Stephen looking on as Stephen was stoned to death (Acts 7:58-59). Saul met the Lord on his way to Damascus to persecute the Christians in Acts chapter 9. There was a bright light from heaven that caused Saul to fall to the ground. The voice of the Lord asked Saul why Saul was persecuting Him. Jesus explained to Saul that when he persecuted the church then he was persecuting the recently risen Lord. Saul’s response was a proper response. He submitted to the Lord and asked what he should do. He also started going by the name Paul more and more. The church in Antioch wanted to send out missionaries to preach and start new works. The great leader Barnabas and the growing Christian Paul were chosen. They traveled together and were known as Barnabas and Paul. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write the many epistles (letters) to the churches he formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters were the foundational Doctrines of the Christian Faith, and form a large portion of the New Testament in the Bible. Paul was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero in Rome.
LUKE, AD 93
Luke did not know Jesus Christ personally. He became a follower after the Lord’s death, when Paul taught him the gospel. Luke had been a physician (Colossians 4:14), but he left that profession to travel with Paul (2 Timothy 4:11). He had the opportunity to talk with many of the Apostles as well as others who were eyewitnesses to special events or moments in the Lord’s life. In the first few verses of his book, Luke says that he is going to write the things that eyewitnesses and other teachers of the gospel had to say about the Savior. Apparently he had the opportunity to talk to many who were present when the Savior taught or performed miracles.He was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching.
As a disciple from the time of Jesus’ baptism through to his death and resurrection, and possibly one of the 72 sent out to preach and heal, Matthias was chosen by prayer and the drawing of lots to replace Judas Iscariot as the twelfth apostle (Acts 1:15-26). He may have preached in Ethiopia, Other traditions place him in Judea, and later Cappadocia (eastern Turkey) and the Caspian Sea area. Matthias was stoned brutally and then beheaded in Ethiopia.