THE TWELVE APOSTLES
December 10, 2017
BEFORE we begin, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, take a moment to name your sins to God the Father. This will allow you to be filled with the power of The Holy Spirit as you read this booklet (EPH 5:18 & 1JO 1:9). IF YOU HAVE never believed in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have that opportunity right now. Simply tell God the Father that you are believing on His Son Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you make that decision, you are now a believer and will always be a child of God! When you die, you will spend eternity with Him forever in heaven! (JOH 3:16 & ACT 16:31).
We will cover Judas Iscariot and Paul in later Trees, so we will end our study with an apostle recap, starting with how they died.
The Apostle Peter was crucified upside down. Andrew was crucified in Edhessa or Ethiopia. James, John’s Brother, was beheaded in 36 AD. John died of old age. Phillip was tortured, crucified, and stoned to death in 54AD. Bartholomew was beaten and crucified in India. Thomas, while doing missionary in India, was murdered with a spear. Matthew was run through by a spear or halberd in Nadabah in 60AD. James, the son of Alphaeus, was beaten and stoned by Jews – his brains bashed out with fullers club. Thaddaeus was crucified in Edessa. Simon the Zealot was crucified while preaching in Africa and Briton. Our beloved apostle Paul was beheaded. That adds up to six who were crucified; two who were beheaded; two who were beaten and stoned to death; two who were killed with a spear; and only one who died of old age. One – Philip – was beaten, stoned and crucified. The faithless will be untouched by the horrific deaths these amazing men endured. We, the faithful, stand in awe of what they were willing to sacrifice to follow our Lord Jesus Christ and to share the Good News.
The happy ending to all of this is that, as a reward for the tremendous work each apostle performed, they are honored with their names written on the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem, in the new earth created after the Millennium. The Millennium is the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth from His second advent to the end of human history. Once human history is over, God will create The New Jerusalem: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. (REV 21:1-2) REV 21:14 goes on to say: And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And REV 21:19-20 continues with: The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. The decorations on the walls are gems of the future. All of these are merely approximations, for in the eternal state, these materials are all translucent and they all reflect The Glory of Our Lord Jesus Christ who is The Only Light in the city.
The Apostles are the foundation stones, as Christ is the corner stone of the Church: So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (EPH 2:19-22) As part of the foundation of the Church, the apostles will be rewarded greatly in the eternal state!! And well they deserve to be!
This list of Apostles and the meaning of their names is no random act. Like everything God does, there is meaning. Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him. (MAT 10:1-4) We see God’s Plan of Salvation given to us in a praise hymn. Here is a recap of the meaning of each of the apostle’s names:
- Simon Peter – brother of Andrew; his name means rock or stone
- Andrew – a strong man, manly
- James – the son of Zebedee, brother of John; James means supplants, undermines, or the heel
- John – the grace or mercy of the Lord; Jehovah or Yahweh is or has been gracious
- Philip – lover of horses, warrior
- Bartholomew – son of a plowman (Adam tills the ground)
- Thomas – Twin (like Adam)
- Matthew – the Tax collector; his name means the gift of Yahweh or Jehovah or gift of God
- James – son of Alphaeus; his name means supplants, undermines, heal
- Thaddaeus – (a.k.a. Lebbaeus which means large heart, a man of heart, courageous, and son of supplanter; Thaddaeus means gift of God in Greek, but derived from Hebrew or Aramaic meaning breast
- Simon the Canaanite (Zealot) – Simon means rock or stone; zealot means hears, harkens, obeys [zealous]
- Judas Iscariot – His name means the praise of The Lord, confession; Iscariot means men of Kerioth or men of cites or the world
- Paul – His name comes from the Latin and means small or little. Paul was first known for many years as Saul of Tarsus. Saul means, “asked for.”
The study of the apostles is an intriguing subject – especially when you look at their personalities, their strengths and their weaknesses. We should always remember that not only were they human with failures and successes, but they also were trained by Our Lord during His Earthly Ministry.
The apostles were real people like you and me. They were not saints. They were not sinless. Their lives after Pentecost were incredible and certainly deserve our deep admiration; but some in the world have turned these men into celebrities and made them into statues in cathedrals. But that was not the way it should have been. They were just plain garden-variety men who were available and teachable, flexible and dependable and willing to follow Christ.
Jesus Christ chose them which should give people like us hope. People like you and me can name our faults and weaknesses much quicker than we can name our strengths. We are plagued by them at times and we might think that if The Lord were choosing today, we would never be on that list. You might be surprised! Jesus saw His men not as who they were, but as who they were to become. That’s a great principle. And you and I should see our family and friends the same way.
It seems probable that He chose mainly Galileans because that was where He was raised. He knew Galileans. He understood the Galilean culture and mind-set. Maybe He also selected men from the same area so that there would be that oneness among them.
So what have we learned about the apostles? Jesus promised his disciples three things: they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble. How different is that from what the cosmic system promises!! It all boils down to this: if you take the world’s way and buy into it, you must abandon Christ’s Way. And if you take Christ’s Way and buy into it, you need to abandon the world’s way. Life isn’t about getting what you want, making all the money you ever dreamed of making or being famous, successful or popular. It’s all about knowing God through His Word and ultimately glorifying Him. The world runs from difficulty. Christ says, “I want men who will run toward it.”