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ACTS
The continued Life of Jesus through the Apostles

EPILOGUE

  1. Paul's Ministry after Acts Chapter 28
  2. Conclusion of the book of Acts
  3. The Apostolic Period
  4. What happened to them?


PAUL'S  MINISTRY   AFTER  ACTS CHAPTER 28

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Dr. Luke ended his book before Paul's case had been heard, so he could not give us the results of the trial. We have every reason to believe that Paul was indeed released and that
He resumed his ministry, probably traveling as far as Spain (Romans 15:24,28).
"Whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you...I shall go by way of you to Spain."
During this period (A.D. 63-66/67), he wrote letters to Timothy and Titus.
He left Titus in Crete (Titus 1:5),
 "For this reason I left you in Crete,"
Trophimus sick in Miletus (2 Timothy 4:20)
"Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick."
and Timothy in Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3)
"remain in Ephesus"
He planned to meet some of his helpers at Nicopolis (Titus 3:12-13) after he had visited some of the churches he had established.
 "When I send Artemas to you, or Tychicus, be diligent to come to me at Nicopolis"
Wherever he went, he sought to bring Jews and Gentiles to faith in Jesus Christ.

He was arrested again, probably about the year 67, and this time his situation was changed drastically.
He did not live in a house, but was chained in a prison and treated like a criminal (2 Timothy 1:16; 2:9).
"The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain. ... for which I suffer ... even to the point of chains"
Winter was coming, and he asked Timothy to bring him his cloak (2 Timothy 4:13).
"Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come"
The great apostle to the Gentiles was abandoned by the very people he came to assist. Even Demas forsook him, and only Luke was with him (2 Timothy 4:10-11).
"Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world"
The family of Onesiphorus ministered to his needs (2 Timothy 1:16-18),
"The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain"
but he longed for Timothy and Mark to come to be at his side (2 Timothy 1:4; 4:9,21).
"greatly desiring to see you, ... Be diligent to come to me quickly;  ... Do your utmost to come before winter."
Paul knew that the end was coming (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing."
Tradition tells us that he was beheaded at Rome in A.D. 67/68.
(The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook
Communication Ministries
.)

Excerpts from The Acts Of The Holy Apostles Peter and Paul
Written between A.D. 200 to A.D. 325

It came to pass, after Paul went out of the island Gaudomeleta, that he came to Italy; and it was heard of by the Jews who were in Rome, the elder of the cities, that Paul demanded to come to Caesar. Having fallen, therefore, into great grief and much despondency, they said among themselves: it does not please him that he alone has afflicted all our brethren and parents in Judaea and Samaria, and in all Palestine; and he has not been pleased with these, but, behold, he comes here also, having through imposition asked Caesar to destroy us.
Having therefore made an assembly against Paul, and having considered many proposals, it seemed good to them to go to Nero the emperor, to ask him not to allow Paul to come to Rome. Having therefore got in readiness not a few presents, and having carried them with them, with supplication they came before him, saying: We beseech thee, O good emperor, send orders into all the governments of your worship, to the effect that Paul, having afflicted all the nation of our fathers, has been seeking to come hither to destroy us also. And the affliction, O most worshipful emperor, which we have from Peter is enough for us.
And the Emperor Nero, having heard these things, answered them: It is according to your wish. And we write to all our governments that he shall not on any account come to anchor in the parts of Italy. And they also informed Simon the magian, having sent for him, that, as has been said, he should not come into the parts of Italy.’
And Dioscorus the shipmaster, who brought him [Paul] to Syracuse, sympathizing with Paul because he had delivered his son from death, having left his own ship in Syracuse, accompanied him to Pontiole. And some of Peter’s disciples having been found there, and having received Paul, exhorted him to stay with them. And he stayed a week, in hiding, because of the command of Caesar. And all the toparchs were watching to seize and kill him. But Dioscorus the shipmaster, being himself also bold, wearing his ship-master’s dress, and speaking boldly, on the first day went out into the city of Pontiole. Thinking therefore that he was Paul, they seized him, and beheaded him, and sent his head to Caesar.
Caesar therefore, having summoned the first men of the Jews, announced to them, saying: Rejoice with great joy, for Paul your enemy is dead. And he showed them the head. Having therefore made great rejoicing on that day, which was the fourteenth of the month of June, each of the Jews fully believed it. Paul having gone forth from Baias, they went to Gaitas, and there he taught the word of God. And he stayed there three days in the house of Erasmus, whom Peter sent from Rome to teach the Gospel of God. And having come forth from Gaitas, he came to the castle called Taracinas, and stayed there seven days in the house of Caesarius the deacon, whom Peter had ordained by the laying on of hands. And sailing thence, he came by the river to a place called Trius Tabernes. And Paul stayed in Tribus Tabernes four days. And departing thence, he came to Appii Forum, which is called Vicusarape; And Juvenalius the bishop took to Peter him that had been sent by Paul, and he reported to him that he was alive, and on his way, and that he was at Appii Forum. And Peter thanked and glorified the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Then having summoned his disciples that believed, he sent them to Paul as far as Tribus Tabernes. And the distance from Rome to Tribus Tabernes is thirty-eight miles [thirty-three]. And Paul seeing them, having given thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ, took courage; and departing thence, they slept in the city called Aricia.
And Paul having come to Rome, [his second trip], great fear fell upon the Jews. And Peter having heard that Paul had come, rejoiced with great joy; and rising up, immediately went to him. And seeing each other, they wept for joy; and long embracing each other, they bedewed [covered] each other with tears. And it happened also that Nero’s wife Libia, and the yoke-fellow of Agrippa the prefect, Agrippina by name, thus believed, so that also they went away from beside their own husbands. And on account of the teaching of Paul, many, despising military life, clung to God; so that even from the emperor’s bed-chamber some came to him, and having become Christians, were no longer willing to return to the army or the palace. Then Nero, filled with concern, ordered to bring them speedily before him. And on the following day Simon the magian, and Peter and Paul the apostles of Christ, having come in to Nero, Simon said: These are the disciples of the Nazarene, and it is not at all well that they should be of the people of the Jews, Nero said: What is a Nazarene? Also Nero said, Who is Christ? But if thou wished to know, O good emperor, the things that have been done in Judaea about Christ, take the writing of Pontius Pilate sent to Claudius, and thus thou wilt know all. And Nero ordered them to be brought, and to be read in their presence; and they were to following effect:

Pontius Pilate to Claudius, greetings.
There has lately happened an event which I myself was concerned in. For the Jews through envy have inflicted on themselves, and those coming after them, dreadful judgments…He, then, when I was procurator, came into Judea. And they saw him enlightening the blind, cleansing lepers, healing paralytics, expelling demons from men, raising the dead, subduing the winds, waling upon the waves of the sea, and doing many other wonders, and all the people of the Jews calling him Son of God. Then the chief priests, moved with envy against him, seized him, and delivered him to me; and telling one lie after another, they said that he was a wizard, and did contrary to their law. And I, having believed that these things were so, gave him up, after scourging him, to their will; and they crucified him, and after he was buried set guards over him. But he, while my soldiers were guarding him, rose on the third day. And to such a degree was the wickedness of the Jews inflamed against him, that they gave money to the soldiers, saying, Say his disciples have stolen his body. But they, having taken the money, were not able to keep silence as to what had happened; for they have testified that they have seen him (after he was) risen, and that they have received money from the Jews. These things, therefore, have I reported, that no one should falsely speak otherwise, and that thou should not suppose that the falsehoods of the Jews are to be believed. Pontius Pilate to Claudius

Then both Peter and Paul were led away from the presence of Nero. And Paul was beheaded on the Ostesian road.
(from Ante-Nicene Fathers, American reprint of the Edinburgh edition; Volume 8, 1951 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)

NOTE: Regarding the letter from Pilate to Claudius, it must be clarified that it was not only the Jews that were responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus. It was Pilate who gave the order, it was the Roman soldiers who nailed him to the cross and it was the Roman soldiers that thrust the spear into his side. The entire civilization of mankind stood guilty before Him. We are all and each equally responsible for His death. However, on that day, they could not kill Him. It was Jesus Himself that "laid down His life." (John 10:17-18)
"I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."    (NKJV)
(Paul the Learner)

Scholars are divided over whether he was ever set free. Some believe he eventually reached Spain, as was his desire (Romans 15:24 "whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you"); this would imply he was freed at least once. During his time of freedom he might have again visited the congregations he had established in Greece and Asia Minor; then, after a second
arrest, he would have written his last letter, 2 Timothy, in which he anticipates his pending execution by writing, in the perfect tense, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Tradition has it that he was condemned to death and executed in Rome between 64 and 68 C. E. Some think Luke intended to write a third book describing Sha’ul's life after the point at which Acts ends, since the story does not seem to be finished. But Luke's perspective in these last verses seems to be one of not knowing more.
(Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc.)




CONCLUSION  OF  THE  BOOK  OF  ACTS

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Barnes points out that the writer of this book to give a history of the church for 30 years after the ascension of the Savior; that he has recorded the accounts of the first great revivals of religion; that he has presented us the examples of the early missionary zeal; that he has informed us how the early Christians endured persecution and toil; that he has conducted us from land to land, and from city to city, showing us everywhere how the gospel was propagated, until we are led to the seat of the Roman power, and see the great apostle of Christianity there proclaiming, in that mighty capital of the world, the name of Jesus as the Savior of people.
(Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.)

UNSUNG HEROES IN ACTS

When we think of the success of the early church, we often think of the work of the apostles. But the
church could have died if it hadn’t been for the unsung heroes, the men and women who through
some small but committed act moved the church forward.

Hero Reference Heroic Action
Crippled man Acts 3:9-12 After his healing, he praised God. As the crowds gathered to see what happened, Peter used the opportunity to tell many about Jesus.
Five deacons Acts 6:2-5 Everyone has heard of Stephen, and many know of Philip, but there were five other men chosen to be deacons. They not only laid the foundation for service in the church, but their hard work also gave the apostles the time they needed to preach the gospel.
Ananias Acts 9:10-19 He had the responsibility of being the first to demonstrate Christ’s love to Saul (Paul) after his conversion.
Cornelius Acts 10:30-35 His example showed Peter that the gospel was for all people, Jews and Gentiles.
Rhoda Acts 12:13-15 Her persistence brought Peter inside Mary’s home, where he would be safe.
James Acts 15:13-21 He took command of the Jerusalem council and had the courage and discernment to help form a decision that would affect literally millions of Christians over many generations.
Lydia Acts 16:13-15 She opened her home to Paul, from which he led many to Christ and founded a church in Philippi.
Jason Acts 17:5-9 He risked his life for the gospel by allowing Paul to stay in his home. He stood up for what was true and right, even though he faced persecution for it.
Paul’s nephew Acts 23:16-24 He saved Paul’s life by telling officials of a murder plot.
Julius Acts 27:1, 43 He spared Paul when the other soldiers wanted to kill him.
(from The Tyndale Handbook of Bible Charts & Maps. Copyright 2001 (c) by Neil S. Wilson & Linda K. Taylor.)
(Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois)

MARRIAGE WITH A MISSION
Acts 18:19-21

One of the more interesting couples in the New Testament is Priscilla and Aquila. Colleagues of the apostle Paul, this husband-and-wife team left a legacy of tireless labor for the work of Christ. Always willing to serve wherever needed, they are a wonderful role model for modern-day couples who want to use their marriages to make an eternal difference in this world.

Reference Location Date Event
Acts 18:2 Rome A.D. 49 Ordered to leave Rome (with all the other Jews) by Claudius.
Acts 18:2-3 Corinth A.D. 50–51 Made tents and ministered with the apostle Paul.
Acts 18:18-19 Ephesus A.D. 52 Left in Ephesus by Paul, where, among other things, they helped Apollos sharpen his message
1 Corinthians 16:19 Ephesus A.D. 55–56 Hosted a church in their home in Ephesus and sent greetings via Paul to Christian friends in Corinth.
"Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house."
Romans 16:3-5 Rome A.D. 56–57 Ministered back in Rome and hosted a house church.
"Greet Priscilla and Aquila... Likewise greet the church that is in their house."
2 Timothy 4:19 Ephesus A.D. 67 In Ephesus once again, probably assisted young Timothy as he pastored there.
" Greet Prisca and Aquila,"
(NOTE: Dates are approximate - Paul the Learner)
(from The Tyndale Handbook of Bible Charts & Maps. Copyright 2001 (c) by Neil S. Wilson & Linda K. Taylor.)
(Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois)

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY
Acts 25:1-2

God’s sovereignty over all things is a theme throughout Scripture, especially in the book of Acts as the gospel message is spread across the world. God is always completely in charge, and what may appear as hindrances are in his control.

Reference Statement of Sovereignty
Exodus 15:18 “The LORD will reign forever and ever!”
Deuteronomy 4:39 “So remember this and keep it firmly in mind: The LORD is God both in heaven and on earth, and there is no other god!”
1 Chronicles 29:11 “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O LORD, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.”
Job 25:2 “God is powerful and dreadful. He enforces peace in the heavens.”
Job 41:11 “Who will confront me and remain safe? Everything under heaven is mine.”
Psalm 22:27 “The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to him. People from every nation will bow down before him.”
Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.”
Psalm 67:4 “How glad the nations will be, singing for joy, because you govern them with justice and direct the actions of the whole world.”
Psalm 93:1 “The LORD is king! He is robed in majesty. Indeed, the LORD is robed in majesty and armed with strength. The world is firmly established; it cannot be shaken.”
Isaiah 33:22 “For the LORD is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king. He will care for us and save us.”
Ezekiel 18:4 “For all people are mine to judge—both parents and children alike. And this is my rule: The person who sins will be the one who dies.”
Daniel 4:34 “After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever. His rule is everlasting, and his kingdom is eternal.”
Romans 11:36 “For everything comes from him; everything exists by his power and is intended for his glory. To him be glory evermore. Amen.”
1 Timothy 1:17 “Glory and honor to God forever and ever. He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.”
1 Timothy 6:15 “For at the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of kings and Lord of lords.”
Revelation 19:6 “Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a huge crowd, or the roar of mighty ocean waves, or the crash of loud thunder: ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.’ ”
(from The Tyndale Handbook of Bible Charts & Maps. Copyright 2001 (c) by Neil S. Wilson & Linda K. Taylor.)
(Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois)
 
Acts ends abruptly. Luke gave no indication of what happened to Paul.
Some have suggested that Luke meant to write a third volume, which would narrate the further spread of the gospel.
Others have suggested that Luke did not know the outcome of Paul's trial when he wrote Acts.
Perhaps the most cogent argument suggests that Paul was never tried because the accusers from Jerusalem never showed up. This theory would take Luke's reference to "two whole years" (Acts 28:30) to refer to some statute of limitations, after which the charges would be dropped.

The book does end with a sense of closure however. We must remember that neither Peter nor Paul is the main character of the book.
The book is concerned primarily with the spread of the gospel and the activity of the Holy Spirit.
Paul's ministry in Rome fulfilled Jesus' statement that the disciples would be witnesses "to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Our final picture of Paul is of him preaching the gospel "boldly and without hindrance" (Acts 28:31). Luke's entire narrative has brought out the fact that the gospel has overcome all the barriers. The gospel has been victorious throughout the entire Roman world.

The themes of Acts have come to fruition.
Paul's presence in Rome underscored the spread of the gospel throughout the world and the gospel's ability to overcome any barrier.
The fact that no Roman official could find any evidence of illegal or immoral action affirmed Luke's claim that Christianity was no threat to society. Finally, Paul's missionary activity made the separation between Christianity and Judaism plain.

Luke's primary purpose for writing Acts may be seen as theological.
While he sought to inform, convince, and entertain, his primary concern was that his readers learn something about God. Luke emphasized the work of the Holy Spirit.
Luke's message is not just that the gospel spread from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth; his message is that God caused the spread of the gospel. At each step of the way, the reader is confronted with the working of God in the world.
Missionaries are guided to new fields of endeavor by the word of God.
Their words are confirmed by the miraculous deeds of God done through the apostles.
The faith of new believers is affirmed by the unmistakable presence of the Holy Spirit.
From beginning to end in Acts, the apostles are providentially protected and directed by the work of God in their lives. The missionary imperative for the church continues for each generation.
By the enablement of the Spirit we must be obedient witnesses as the gospel message is taken to the whole world (Acts 1:8).
(from Holman Bible Handbook. (c) Copyright 1992 by Holman Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.)
 


THE  APOSTOLIC  PERIOD

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The Apostolic Period we regard as closing about A.D. 100; as the life of John, according to reliable tradition, reached over into the reign of Trajan, A.D. 90-117. This space of 70 years may be again divided into three subordinate periods:
1. The founding of the Christian Church among the JEWS, or the labors of Peter.
2. The founding of the Christian Church among the GENTILES, or the labors of Paul.
3. Then follows the final summing up and organic union of Jewish and Gentile Christianity in one fixed, independent whole after the destruction of Jerusalem. This is mainly the work of John.

These stages have their local centers in the cities of:
1. Jerusalem, the mother of Jewish Christianity.
2. Antioch, the starting point of the Gentile missions.
3. Ephesus, the residence of John and the principal seat of the process of amalgamation.
At the same time Rome witnesses a similar amalgamation, and becomes the center for Christianity of the West.

THE ACTS AS A DOCTRINAL LINK BETWEEN THE GOSPELS AND EPISTLES

Between the Gospels and the Epistles there is need for a connection of a more internal kind. During the intervening time the doctrine was not only spreading, it was clearing and forming itself, or rather was being cleared and formed by the hand of its Divine Author. This was affected through a certain line of events and through the agency of particular persons. With these events and persons the Book of Acts is occupied. It begins at Jerusalem, it ends at Rome. Between these two points questions have been settled, principles carried out, and divinely implanted tendencies disclosed. Especially have the relations of the gospel to Jew and Gentile been fixed for ever. But the rejection of Jews and admission of Gentiles were not the only result of this long history.
Another result has been involved in it: Christianity itself has been finely drawn out of Judaism, the delicate and intricate relations of the two systems being dealt with in such a way, that (so to speak) the texture of living fiber has been lifted unimpaired out of its former covering, leaving behind only a residuum of what was temporary, preparatory, and carnal.

In fact, the doctrine of the gospel has been cleared and has infused into it, and formed of the true elements which the old covenant had been intended to prepare for its use.

COVENANT, OLD
The Covenant with Israel. This took place at Sinai, when the people had intimated their acceptance of the words of the covenant as found in the Ten Commandments (Ex 34:28) and promised to keep the same. Their obedience to the commands of the law was to be rewarded by God's constant care of Israel, temporal prosperity, victory over enemies, and the pouring out of His Spirit (Ex 23:20-33). The seal of this covenant was to be circumcision and was called "His covenant" (Deut 4:13). It was renewed at different periods of Jewish history (chap. 29; Josh 24; Ezra 10:3).
Exodus 34:28
And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.    (NKJV)
Exodus 23:20-24
Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him. But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. For My Angel will go before you and bring you in to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites and the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will cut them off.    (NKJV)
Deuteronomy 4:13
So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.    (NKJV)
Deuteronomy chapter 29
 These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which He made with them in Horeb. ... keep the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do. ... "All of you stand today before the Lord your God: your leaders and your tribes and your elders and your officers, all the men of Israel, your little ones and your wives — also the stranger who is in your camp, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water — that you may enter into covenant with the Lord your God, and into His oath, which the Lord your God makes with you today, that He may establish you today as a people for Himself, and that He may be God to you, just as He has spoken to you, and just as He has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.     (NKJV)
Joshua 24:1
 Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem and called for the elders of Israel, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers; ... Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. ... So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.    (NKJV)
Ezra 10:3
Now therefore, let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and those who have been born to them, according to the advice of my master and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.    (NKJV)
COVENANT, NEW
The Old, i.e., the covenant of law, with all its outward institutions and ritualistic services, is regarded as the Old because its full and formal ratification took place before the other. In germ the New Covenant (or that of grace) existed from the first; and partial exhibitions of it have been given all through the world's history. It was involved in the promise of recovery at the Fall.
Jeremiah 31:31-33
Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, [Luke 22:20; 1 Cor 11:25.]  Not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was their Husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, says the Lord, I will put My law within them, and on their hearts will I write it; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. (AMP)
Ezra 10:3
Now therefore, let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and those who have been born to them, according to the advice of my master and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.    (NKJV)
Luke 22:20
Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.    (NKJV)
1 Corinthians 11:25
In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."    (NKJV)
(From The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 1988.)



WHAT  HAPPENED  TO  THEM?

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The Apostles

Andrew (John 1:35-40)
Brother of Peter, he preached the gospel to many Asian nations. At Patrae, in Greece, the governor of the country threatened him with death for preaching against the idols which he worshipped; but Andrew fearlessly continued to tell the people of Christ. He was therefore sentenced to be crucified on a cross made of two pieces of wood of equal length, the ends of which were fixed in the ground. He was fastened to it, not with nails, but with cords, so that his death might be more slow.

Bartholomew (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14)
He preached in several countries, performed many miracles, and healed various diseases. He translated Matthew's gospel into the language of several nations. The idolaters finally slew him, some say with the sword, others that he was beaten to death with clubs.

James the brother of John (Matthew 4:21-22; Mark 1:19-20; Luke 5:10-11)
James was the first of the apostles to meet a martyr's death. Herod Agrippa, when he was made governor of Judea by the Roman emperor Caligula, raised a persecution against the Christians, and especially singled out James as an object of his vengeance (Acts 12: 1, 2).
History tells us that when he was led out to die, a man who brought false accusations against him walked with him to the place of execution. He had doubtless expected to see James looking pale and frightened, but he saw him, instead, bright and joyous, like a conqueror who had won a great battle. The false witness greatly wondered at this, and became convinced that the Savior in whom the prisoner by his side believed must be the true God, or he could not impart such cheerfulness and courage to a man about to die. The man himself, therefore, became a convert to Christianity, and was condemned to die with James. Both were consequently beheaded on the same day and with the same sword. This took place in the year of our Lord 44.

James the son of Alphaeus (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15)
Sometimes referred to as James The Less to distinguish him from James, the brother of John. He was, after the Lord's ascension, elected bishop of Jerusalem. The Jews of Jerusalem, being greatly enraged against the Christians, determined to wreak their vengeance on him. They fell attacked him in the street, threw him down, and beat, bruised, and stoned him to death.
Smith's Bible Dictionary says that, according to tradition, James was thrown down from the temple by the scribes and Pharisees; he was then stoned, and his brains dashed out with a fuller's club.

John (John 1:40-42)
John founded many churches in Greece, and ministered in Ephesus. While at Ephesus, he was ordered by the emperor Domitian to be sent bound to Rome, where he was condemned to be cast into a caldron of boiling oil. Either this sentence was not carried out, or a miracle saved him from injury, for he was afterward banished by the emperor to the island of Patmos where he wrote the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
At last Domitian died, and the next emperor, Nerva, was kind to the Christians, and sent John back to Ephesus, where he wrote his gospel. He lived to be a very old man, and died a natural death at Ephesus - some say in the one-hundredth year of his age.

Matthew (Matthew 9:9-13; Mark 2:13-17; Luke 5:27-32)
After the ascension of his Master, he continued preaching the gospel in Judea for nine years. When about to leave Judea, in order to preach among the Gentiles, he wrote his gospel in Hebrew for the use of the Jewish people to whom he had preached. He then went into Ethiopia, ordained preachers, settled churches, and made many converts. He afterwards traveled to Parthia, where he met his death, being slain with the sword, about the year A. D. 60.

Philip (John 1:43-46)
He was sent to minister in parts of Asia, where he labored very diligently in his apostleship. He then traveled into Phrygia, and arriving at Hierapolis, found the inhabitants sunk in idolatry in the worship of a great serpent.. Philip, however, converted many of them to Christianity, and even accomplished the destruction of the serpent. This so enraged the rulers, and especially the priests, who gained much money by the superstitions of the people, that they committed him to prison. He was then cruelly scourged, and afterwards crucified. Bartholomew succeeded in taking down the body, and burying it; but for this, he was himself very nearly suffered the same fate. Philip's martyrdom took place in approximately A.D. 52.

Simon Peter (Matthew 4:18-20; Mark 1:16-18; Luke 5:1-9)
Ancient tradition says that Peter went to Rome before Paul arrived there. Nero caused the great city to be set on fire, and looked on with enjoyment at the destruction of which he was himself the cause. Yet he accused the Christians of having kindled the fire which had laid in ashes the greater portion of Rome, and he ordered hundreds of them to be killed in various cruel ways.
There was a magician at Rome during this time, named Simon Magus, who pretended that he could fly through the air, and do many wonderful things which no other man could do. Crowds came together one day to see him fly, and among the crowd were Peter and Paul. It is said that Simon Magus did indeed, at first actually perform some wonderful feats. But Peter and Paul then knelt down and called on the Lord to confound the magician, and bring his deeds to naught; when they had done this, Simon Magus at once fell to the ground and broke both his legs.
As Simon Magus was a great favorite of Nero's, the emperor was very angry at the apostles; especially as they had converted to Christianity some of the members of his own household; so he cast Peter and Paul into prison and kept them there nine months. During this time they converted two of the captains of the guards, and forty-seven other persons to Christianity. Having been nine months in Prison, Peter was brought out for execution, and after being scourged, he was crucified with his head downwards. It is related that he himself chose this painful posture because he did not think he was worthy to suffer in the same manner an his Lord.

Simon the Canaanite (Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15)
Also called Simon Zelotes due to his zeal. He preached with great success in Mauritania and other parts of Africa, and even in Britain, where, thought he made many converts, he was crucified by the pagans in the year A. D. 74.

Thaddaeus (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:16)
Also called Judas, the Brother of James. Being sent to Persia, he wrought many miracles and made many converts, which stirring up the resentment of people in power, he was crucified in the year A.D. 72.

Thomas (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; John 20:26-29)
He was called Thomas in Syriac, but Didymus in Greek. He preached in Parthia and India. After converting many to Christ he aroused the anger of the pagan priests, and was martyred by being thrust through with a spear.

Matthias (Acts 1:15-19)
The apostle and martyr was called to the apostleship after the ascension of Christ, to supply the vacant place of Judas, who had betrayed his Master. Matthias was martyred at Jerusalem, being first stoned, and then beheaded.

Paul (Saul of Tarsus) (Acts 9:1-31)
After being released from his first imprisonment in Rome, he visited the churches of Greece and Rome, and preached in Gaul and Spain. Returning to Rome, he was taken, imprisoned nine months with Peter, and martyred by the order of Nero, by being beheaded with the sword.

Early Church Believers

Ananias, Bishop of Damascus (Acts 9:10-18)
Ananias was one of the seventy sent out by Jesus, as well as the one who cured Paul of the blindness caused by the miraculous brightness which shone upon him at his conversion. He was martyred in the city of Damascus. After his death a Christian church was built over the place of his burial; this has since been changed into a Turkish mosque.

Aristarchus, the Macedonian (Acts 20:4-6)
Aristarchus was a native of Thessalonica; having been converted by Paul, he became his constant companion. He was with Paul in Rome, where he suffered the same fate as the apostle, being seized as a Christian, and beheaded by command of the emperor Nero.

Erastus, The Chamberlain of Corinth (Acts19:22)
Erastus was converted by Paul and determined to forsake all. For this reason he resigned his office, and accompanied Paul in his voyages and travels till Paul left him in Macedonia, where he was first made bishop of that province by the Christians; and afterward suffered martyrdom, being tortured to death by the heathen at Philippi.

Joseph called Barsabas (Acts 1:23-26)
He was one of Christ's disciples. At the time when an apostle was to be chosen to fill the place of Judas Iscariot, lots were cast to decide whether it should be Joseph or Matthias; and the lot fell on Matthias. After this Joseph preached the gospel in various parts of Judea, suffering many hardships, and was at last slain there, together with many of his converts.

Luke (Writer of Luke & Acts)
The author of the gospel which bears his name, as well as the book of the Acts of the Apostles, he traveled with Paul to Rome, and preached to many barbarous nations. As to his age and death there is the utmost uncertainty. He probably died a martyr, between A.D. 75 and A.D. 100.
According to Barnes:  It is the uniform accounts of antiquity that Luke, after the transactions with which the Acts of the Apostles closes, passed over into Achaia, where he lived a year or two, and there died at the age of 84 years.

Mark (Acts 12:12)
The evangelist was born of Jewish parents, of the tribe of Levi. It is believed that he was converted to Christianity by Peter, whom he served as a writer, and whom he attended in all his travels. Being entreated by the converts at Rome to write down the admirable discourses they had heard spoken by Peter, he consented, and wrote his gospel in the Greek language. He established a bishopric at Alexandria, and then went to Libya, where he made many converts.
On returning to Alexandria, some of the Egyptians, jealous of this power, fixated on his death. Mark was therefore seized, his feet were tied together, and he was dragged through the streets, and left bruised and bleeding in a dungeon over night. The next day they burned his body. His bones were afterward carefully gathered up by the Christians, decently interred, and at a later period, so one tradition tells, removed to Venice.

Polycarpus
A follower and convert of John, he served in the ministry of Christ for sixty years. The circumstances which led up to his martyrdom is told by an ancient historian:
A young Christian man, named Germanicus, being sentenced to be torn to pieces by wild beasts on account of his faith, behaved with such astonishing courage, that several of the spectators became converted on the spot to a faith which inspired such fortitude. This enraged others so much that they cried out, "Death to the Christians!" Some enemies to the Christians then began suddenly to cry out, "Destroy all the wicked men! Let Polycarpus be sought for!" and soon a great uproar and tumult began to be raised.
Polycarpus escaped, but his hiding-place was discovered by a child. He dreamed that his bed suddenly became on fire, and was consumed in a moment. He concluded that it was God's will he should suffer martyrdom. He therefore did not attempt to make a second escape when he had opportunity of doing so, and those who took him were amazed at his serene and cheerful countenance. He desired an hour for prayer, which being allowed, he prayed with such fervency that his guards repented that they had come for him. He was, however, at once carried before the proconsul, condemned to be burned alive, and led to the marketplace.
He still earnestly prayed to heaven after being bound to the stake. Fire was set to the wood, and the flames grew hot; the executioners gave way on both sides, as the heat was intolerable. But all this time the martyr sang praises to God in the midst of the flames, remaining for a long time unconsumed therein, and the burning of the wood spread a fragrance around. Astonished at this miracle, but determined to put an end to his life, the guards struck spears into his body. and the quantity of blood that issued forth from the wounds of their victim put out the flames. After many attempts, however, they put him to death and burned the dead body which they had not been able to consume while alive.

Stephen, the Deacon (Acts 6:10-7:60)
He is called the Proto-Martyr, or first martyr, and whose history is in the Acts of the Apostles. He was the first Christian martyr to be put to death for his faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 6:5-9; 7:54-59).

Timothy, Bishop of Ephesus (Acts 16:1-2)
A disciple of Paul and bishop of Ephesus, he was born at Lystra in Asia Minor. It was to him that Paul wrote the two epistles of I & II Timothy where Paul gave the 30 year old bishop proper instructions for his conduct. He governed the church in Ephesus until the year A.D. 97. At this time the heathen were about to celebrate a feast, the principal ceremonies of which were that the people should carry wands in their hands, go masked, and bear about the streets the images of their gods. When timothy met the procession, he reproved them for their idolatry, which so angered them that they fell upon him with their sticks, and beat him in so dreadful a manner that he died two days later.

Trophimus (Acts 20:4-5)
An Ephesian by birth, he was converted by Paul to the Christian faith and accompanied him on his missions to foreign lands. When passing through Gaul, the apostle made him bishop of that province, and left him in the city of Arles. About a year after, he paid a visit to Paul in Asia, and went with him, for the last time, to Rome where he was a witness to Paul's martyrdom. Soon after he was seized on account of his faith and beheaded by order of Nero.

Sources:
Foxe's Christian Martyrs Of The World by John Foxe Newly Revised and Illustrated, Moody Press, Chicago
Smith's Bible Dictionary, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.
Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.

Luke did not write his book simply to record ancient history. He wrote to encourage the church in every age to be faithful to the Lord and carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth. "What was begun with so much heroism ought to be continued with ardent zeal," said Charles Spurgeon, "since we are assured that the same Lord is mighty still to carry on His heavenly designs." "Lo, I am with you always!"
(The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook
Communication Ministries.)



(End of the Epilogue)

 

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