11 March 2012

Who were the 12 Apostles?

The Canonical gospels give the names of the Twelve. According to the list occurring in each of the three Synoptic Gospels, [Mk 3:13-19] [Mt 10:1-4] [Lk 6:12-16] the Twelve some of whom chose to follow Jesus, and some who were called by Jesus, near the beginning of his ministry, those "whom he also named apostles", were, according to the Gospels of Mark and Matthew:

  1. Simon Peter: Renamed by Jesus to Peter (meaning rock), his original name was Simon bar Jonah;[Mk 3:16] was a fisherman from the Bethsaida "of Galilee"[Jn 1:44], cf. Jn 12:21. Also known as Simon bar Jochanan (Aram.), Cephas (Aram.).
  2. Andrew: The brother of Simon/Peter, a Bethsaida fisherman, and a former disciple of John the Baptist.
  3. James, son of Zebedee: The brother of John.
  4. John: The brother of James. Jesus named both of them Bo-aner'ges, which means "sons of thunder'.'"[Mk 3:17]
  5. Philip: From the Bethsaida of Galilee[Jn 1:44] [12:21]
  6. Bartholomew, son of Talemai; usually identified with Nathanael, who is mentioned in Jn 1:45-51.
  7. Matthew: The tax collector. Mt 9:9-10, Mk 2:14-15 and Lu 5:27-29 indicate that Matthew was also known as Levi.[18]
  8. Thomas: Judas Thomas Didymus - Aramaic T'oma' = twin, and Greek Didymos = twin. Doubting Thomas.
  9. James, son of Alphaeus: Generally identified with "James the Less", and also identified by Roman Catholics with "James the Just".
  10. Thaddeus: In some manuscripts of Matthew, the name "Lebbaeus" occurs in this place. Thaddeus is traditionally identified with Jude; see below.
  11. Simon the Zealot: Some have identified him with Simeon of Jerusalem.
  12. Judas Iscariot: The disciple who later betrayed Jesus.[Mk 3:19] The name Iscariot may refer to the Judaean towns of Kerioth or to the sicarii (Jewish nationalist insurrectionists), or to Issachar. Also referred to as "Judas, the son of Simon."[Jn 6:71] [13:26] He was replaced by Matthias as an apostle shortly after Jesus' resurrection.

After Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ and then in guilt committed suicide before Christ's resurrection (in one Gospel account), the apostles numbered eleven. When Jesus had been taken up from them, in preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit that he had promised them, Peter advised the brethren:
Judas, who was guide to those who took Jesus... For he was numbered with us, and received his portion in this ministry... For it is written in the book of Psalms, 'Let his habitation be made desolate, Let no one dwell therein', and, 'Let another take his office'... So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day he was taken up from us, must become with us a witness to his resurrection.
—Acts 1:15-26
So, between the ascension of Christ and the day of Pentecost, the remaining apostles elected a twelfth apostle by casting lots, a traditional Israelite way to determine the Will of God. (Proverbs 16:33) The lot fell upon Matthias.

This is one of several verses used by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Eastern Orthodox Churches in support of the teaching of Apostolic Succession.

Paul of Tarsus, in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, appears to give the first historical reference to the twelve apostles:
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
—1Corinthians 15:3-8
Christian tradition has generally passed down that all but one were martyred, with John surviving into old age. Only the death of James, son of Zebedee is described in the New Testament, and the details of the other deaths are the subject of pious legends of varying authenticity. In some cases there is near unanimity in the tradition, and in other cases, there are widely varying and inconsistent accounts.

Judas Iscariot, originally one of the Twelve, died during Jesus' trial. Matthew 27:5 says that he hanged himself, and Acts 1:18 says that he fell, burst open, and his "bowels gushed out." Matthias was elected to take his place as one of the Twelve.

According to Christian tradition, the 12 Apostls died in the following ways:

  • Peter, crucified upside-down in Rome c. AD 64.
  • James, son of Zebedee was beheaded in AD 44, first of the Twelve to die (since the addition of Matthias)
  • John, son of Zebedee, no biblical record of death, he is believed to have died of natural causes due to old age. 
  • Andrew, Peter's brother, was crucified upon aX-shaped cross.
  • Philip was crucified in AD 54.
  • Bartholomew (also known as Nathaniel) was flayed alive (skinned) and then beheaded; some sources locate his death at Derbend on the Caspian Sea.
  • Matthew killed by an axe in AD 60.
  • Thomas was killed by a spear in Mylapore, Madras, India in AD 72.
  • James, son of Alphaeus, stoned at age 90 then clubbed to death.
  • Jude was crucified.
  • Simon the Zealot was crucified in AD 74.
  • Judas Iscariot, according to Matthew, hanged himself after betraying Jesus. In Acts, he is described as falling in a field and bursting open. He decayed on the tree resulting in a bloating with gas and a weakening of the skin. Then when he was let down from the tree he burst open upon impact.
  • Matthias, Judas' replacement, was stoned and beheaded.



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