Monday, November 22, 2010
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE APPOSTLES IN THE BIBLE?
For anyone who holds that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was a man-made hoax conspired by a group of disciples should check out what happened to them. It verifies the truth of the Bible. For 11 of the 12 apostles, and many thousands of other early Christians, died for believing this story. This is dramatic, since they all witnessed the events of Jesus and still went to their deaths defending their faith. Why is this dramatic, when many throughout history have died martyred deaths for a religious belief? Because people dont die for a lie. Look at human nature throughout history. No conspiracy can be maintained when life or liberty is at stake. Dying for a belief is one thing, but numerous eyewitnesses dying for a known lie is quite another. Here is an account of early Christian persecution, as compiled from numerous sources outside the Bible, the most famous of which is Foxes Christian Martyrs of the World: Around 34 A.D., one year after the crucifixion of Jesus, Stephen was thrown out of Jerusalem and stoned to death. Approximately 2,000 Christians suffered martyrdom in Jerusalem during this period. About 10 years later, James , the son of Zebedee and the elder brother of John, was killed when Herod Agrippa arrived as governor of Judea. Agrippa detested the Christian sect of Jews, and many more were martyred under his rule. Around 54 A.D., Philip , an early disciple from Galilee, was scourged, thrown into prison, and afterwards crucified. About six years later, Matthew , the tax-collector from Nazareth who wrote his gospel, was preaching in Ethiopia when he suffered martyrdom by the sword. James , the brother of Jesus, whose burial box was recently discovered, became the leader of the early church in Jerusalem and was the author of an Epistle by his name. At age 94, he was beat and stoned, and finally had his brains bashed out with a club. Matthias was the apostle who took the place of Judas. He was stoned at Jerusalem and then beheaded. Andrew was the brother of Peter who preached the gospel throughout Asia. He was crucified on a cross, the two ends of which were fixed in an X-Shape in the ground (this is where we get the term, St. Andrew's Cross). Mark was converted to Christianity by Peter, and then transcribed Peters account of Jesus in his Gospel, was dragged to pieces by the people of Alexandria Egypt in front of Serapis, their pagan idol. Peter was crucified at Rome... upside down, at his own request, because he said he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord. Paul suffered in the first persecution under Nero. Pauls faith was so dramatic in the face of martyrdom, that the authorities removed him to a private place where he was beheaded with a sword. In about 72 A.D., Jude , the brother of James who was commonly called Thaddeus, was crucified at Edessa. Bartholomew preached in several countries and translated the Gospel of Matthew into the language of India. He was savagely beaten and then crucified there. Thomas , called Didymus, preached the Gospel in Parthia and India, where he was thrust through with a spear. Luke the physician and the author of the Gospel under his name and traveled with Paul through various countries... was hung on an olive tree in Greece. John , the "beloved disciple," was the brother of James. From Ephesus he was ordered to Rome, where he was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil. He escaped by miracle, without injury. The Romans banished him to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. He was the only apostle who escaped a violent death. What is so amazing, and why I went into so much detail here, is because Christian persecution didnt slow the growth of the Christian faith during the first few centuries after Christ. Even as its early leaders died horrible deaths, Christianity flourished throughout the Roman Empire. How can this historical record of martyrdom be viewed as anything but dramatic evidence for the absolute truth of the Christian faith - a faith, unlike any other, that is founded on historical events and eye-witness testimony? This historical record, I submit... tells us the Real Story of Jesus and further demonstrates the truth of the Bible. About the author: The author is publisher of the Online Christian Shopper (http://www.onlinechristianshopper.com), which specializes in lifestyle evangelism tools like Christian T-Shirts. He also publishes The Faithful Christian (http://www.faithfulchristian.com).
at 1:48:00 AM