"The most important of life's battles is the one we fight daily in the silent chambers of the soul."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Martyr- Greek word for "witness". One who chooses death rather than to deny Jesus Christ or His work.

The only apostle’s death the Bible records is James' (Acts 12:2). King Herod had James put to death “with the sword” – likely a reference to beheading. The circumstances of the deaths of the other apostles can only be known based on church history.

The most commonly accepted church history in regards to the death of an apostle is that the Apostle Peter was crucified, upside-down on an x-shaped cross, in Rome, in fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy (John 21:18).

Following are the church history in regards to the deaths of the other apostles:

Matthew suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, where he had drawn to take the gospel. There he performed many miracles and great teachings. King Aeglippus of Ethiopia liked the Christians. But upon his death King Hyactus took the throne. He was an unbeliever who hated the Christians. While Matthew was teaching in his church, he had him arrested. Matthew was dragged outside, nailed to the ground with short spears, and beheaded.

John faced martyrdom when he was boiled in a 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 wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos. The Apostle John was later freed and returned to what is now modern-day Turkey. He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.

James, the brother of Jesus (not officially an apostle), 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. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a club. This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the temptation.

Jude, brother of James the Just and younger brother of Jesus, who wrote the book of Jude travels included Mesopotamia, Syria, Arabia, and Persia (now Iran). In Edema he angered the pagan priest by preaching against idol sacrifices and worships. They saw they were losing money and followers. So they attacked him with sticks and clubs, beating him to death in 68 AD.

Bartholomew, also know as Nathanael, was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed in present-day Turkey and was martyred for his preaching in Armenia, when he was flayed to death by a whip.

Andrew was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers, Andrew's body was tied 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 died.

The Apostle Thomas was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church there.

Matthias, the apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.

Phillip's travels include going to Samaria. When the apostles later drew lots to divide the known world between them, he drew what is now Turkey and Syria. He planted many churches. Ending up at Hierapolis in Phrygia. He worked many miraculous signs there. The idol worshippers cared little for these miracles or the message he brought. Ancient historians say he was tied to a pillar and stoned to death. Others say they whipped him, threw him in prison, and later crucified him. He was the second apostle to be martyred.

Simon the Canaanite traveled in Egypt, North Africa, Mauritania-an island in the Indian Ocean, and in the Great Britian islands. Some say he was crucified in Great Britian. Others say after traveling with Jude he was tortured and crucified by a governor in Syria.

The Apostle Paul was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67.

It is not so important how the apostles died. What is important is the fact that they were all willing to die for their faith. If Jesus had not been resurrected, the disciples would have known. No one will die for something he knows is a lie. The fact that all of the apostles were willing to die horrible deaths, refusing to renounce their faith in Christ – is tremendous evidence that they had truly witnessed the resurrection of Jesus Christ.


Lance Gargus



Amen Lance, Excellent post! Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Hey Lance, I have also been reading about the early martyrs and your article brought to mind something I recently read...

"The early martyrs paid the ultimate price, their very lives. But the values of their example is not in the martyrdom itself, however noble and courageous, but in their commitment to Christ's lordship. That we might not have to die for Christ is irrelevant. How we live for Christ is the real issue."

That really hit home with me. I would share more, but I need to keep it short. E-mail me if you would like to discuss it further.

Blessings in Christ

Lance Mac said...

Besides my own personal experiences with the Holy Spirit, these deaths convince me that Jesus was raised from the dead and that Jesus was everything he said he was. Two of his brothers were willing to put themselves on the line proclaiming someone they grew up with as Lord. Good thoughts for the week leading to Easter, Lance.

MadMaktub said...

Hi Lance..how you are diong?
Im with a severe depression. Started to take medecine this week. It's gonna be hard. I dont have the courage of those brave men of the bible.

Thank you bro. Pray for me. Im destroying any possibility to the people like me. Each day Im being apart of the world.

Beautiful post as ever.

FishHawk said...

Well, so much for the "preached" promise of living what we naturally consider as being a "prosperous" life in this world; but this is not at all to say that they were not "prosperous". For what they received from our Heavenly Father is too great to measure; and their courage stands as further proof unto all who are not too blind to see.

Dog Lover said...

Lance, You have a great post. Sometimes when I read the bible, I have many imagination about their life..

Enemy of the Republic said...


As the church grew, martyrdom took a different form. The followers of Luther died horribly from burnings during the time of Bloody Mary Tudor. Catholics who dared to disagree with church dogma but still wanted to remain in their faith were killed through burnings and beheadings in Spain and Italy. During the early church, the martydoms coincided with horrid treatment of Jews who chose to remain in Judea through the 2nd century. There was one rabbi--Rabbi Akiva--who was tortured to death by the Romans with hot combs that seared off his flesh. What's my point? People under persecution have the ability to make clear choices--will I die for my faith or will I deny it? We are now living in such a lukewarm period that very few Westerners know what persecution is, unless it falls to ridicule at the workplace. I am not wishing for history to repeat itself, but how many Christians now would face the martyrdom that you described or even endure what Rabbi Akiva did? Just a thought.

Good post, Lance, as always.

AngelBaby said...

Excellent. Very interesting, thank you for sharing it.

I have something for you at my site.

Love and Blessings,

Renae said...

Excellent post, Lance, and great food for thought.


Marla said...

Hey Lance,
I know you carefully chose the word Apostle. However, it would seem to me that the followers of Jesus - the disciples were interchangeably called Apostles starting in the immediate Post-Easter period.

Stephen who was stoned (Acts 7:54-8:1)has been viewed as the first Apostle who died a martyr.

What do you say about that?

Carol said...

Good post Lance! :) I only hope I'm as strong if I've put through that test.

Given55 said...

One of the reasons that Christianity interested me so, when I was seeking was these men.

I knew that no one, would ever, run in fear one day, and then be willing to be executed the next without something truly supernatural happening. I praise God for these men, their example brought me to the Living God.

Dan said...

Mr. Lance!
Dude, I just tagged you with a meme at bibledude.net. Check out the six non-important things post. You rock dude!

paul maurice martin said...

Interesting -

inspired said...


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