Do you know that all Apostles possibly but one went to prison? It is interesting how people who met our Lord Jesus Christ face to face, who sacrifices for the rest of their life depending the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, trying to bring people back to God, all died miserably.
Let us learn some bible history starting from Acts 5:17-32 (NKJV)
Imprisoned Apostles Freed
17 Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, 18 and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison. 19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”
21 And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
Apostles on Trial Again
22 But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported, 23 saying, “Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!” 24 Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be. 25 So one came and told them, saying, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!”
26 Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!”
29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
In Acts 2:39 we learned that “for the promise is to you and your children” refers to the Jews and proselytes.
Acts 2:39 (NKJV) – For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
The reality is the promise was not to all the Jews, it is to the Jews who eventually believed in Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah. The Jerusalem Temple, the holy place for God’s people in the time of the Apostles was managed by Jewish Sadducees, Priest, Levites, Temple guards, captain of the Temple, etc. They were all living and leading the Jewish people believing they are of God, they are people of God, after all they are descendant of Moses. Peter told them “We ought to obey God rather than men” because these people who believe with all their heart with all their mind, they are servants of God but actually they are the murderer of the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. If you are following me on the articles regarding the “End of the age“, these articles are all about Israel, the judgement to Israel, the old covenant age, not the end of the world. This is why the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. as predicted by Christ in Matthew 24:2.
How did the Apostle die?
This is a copy from another National Geographic website for our own learning:
• Paul (originally Saul before he became disciples of Christ), Evidences highly suggests Apostle Paul’s death occurred after his fifth missionary journey ended in 67 A.D. Paul was likely beheaded by the Romans, under Emperor Nero, sometime around May or June of 68 A.D.
• Simon Peter (known as Peter): Simon-Peter, was imprisoned in Rome, eventually martyred during the reign of the emperor Nero. According to some historical text, Peter asked to be crucified upside down, so that his death would not be the equal of Jesus and the Romans supposedly obliged.
• Andrew: According to 15th Century religious historian Dorman Newman, Andrew—the brother of Peter—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 didn’t 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.
• James (son of Zebedee, AKA James the Greater): Acts 12:1-19 says 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 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: John was the only one of the original disciples not to die a violent death. Instead, he passed away peacefully in Patmos in his old age, sometime around 100 AD.
• Philip: Philip, the first of Jesus’ disciples, became a missionary in Asia. Eventually, he traveled to the Egyptian city of Heliopolis, where he was scourged, thrown into prison, and crucified in 54 AD.
• Bartholomew: Bartholomew 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.
• Thomas: Apparently Thomas preached the gospel in Greece and India, where he angered local religious authorities, who martyred him by running him through with a spear.
• Matthew: According to legend, the former tax collector turned missionary was martyred in Ethiopia, where he was supposedly stabbed in the back by an swordsman sent by King Hertacus, after he criticized the king’s morals.
• James (son of Alphaeus, AKA James the Less): 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. At the age of 94, he was beaten and stoned by persecutors, and then killed him by hitting him in the head with a club.
• Thaddaeus, AKA Lebbaeus, Judas or Jude: According to several stories, he was crucified at Edessa (the name of cities in both Turkey and Greece) in 72 AD.
• Simon the Canaanite AKA the Zealot: Simon preached in Mauritania on the west coast of Africa, and then went to England, where he was crucified in 74 AD.
• Judas Iscariot: According to Matthew 27:3-6, the treacherous apostle 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.”
Relating to our time
Imagine these disciples of Christ, having been a God’s servant in their life, yet all died miserably. But I must say they all died well in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ for it was possibly God’s will to let that happen.
Today in our time although I do not believe there is something biblical in this, we can relate what is happening to some people who because of their faith are suffering in prison. There are those who had been kidnapped, persecuted and possibly hiding from further persecutions. Being in prison does not mean the person is evil, it does not mean you are sinner, it does not mean you did something bad. Apostle Paul went in and out of prison in his ministry and in the end he was beheaded. Being free and able to attend Church services two times a week does not mean you are holy.
God is sovereign over men. It is his will not man’s will.