The Prophesied Afflictions & Death of Some of the Disciples
“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake” (Matthew 24:9).
In Position Paper #1 we listed a number of events that Jesus told His disciples would take place during the generation of time that they were living in. In this Position Paper we will provide evidence to support the actual fulfillment of one of the statements that Jesus made on that particular day.
The Scriptures are replete with evidence that the Matthew 24:9 scripture stated above was indeed fulfilled during the time of the generation to whom Jesus was speaking. We will document that fulfillment by listing some of the supporting scriptures below.
1. Peter and John (see Acts 3:1) were arrested and placed in prison for preaching the resurrection of the dead through Jesus (see 4:2).
“So they [the priests, the Temple ruler and the Sadducees (see verse one)] laid hands on them [Peter and John] (arrested them) and put them in prison until the following day, for it was already evening” (Acts 4:3 AMP).
2. Peter and John were also placed before earthly council to determine their fate.
“Then on the following day, their magistrates and elders and scribes were assembled in Jerusalem. Including Annas the high priest and Caiphas and John and Alexander and all others who belonged to the high priestly relationship. And they set the men [Peter and John] in their midst and repeatedly demanded. By what sort of power or by what kind of authority did [such people as] you do this [healing]? Then Peter, [because he was] filled with (and controlled by) the Holy Spirit, said to them, Rulers of the people and members of the council [the Sanhedrin]. (Acts 4:5–8, AMP.)
3. Stephen was stoned to death.
“And they [the council that Stephen was before (see Acts 6:12, 15)] stoned Stephen…and he fell asleep [died]” (Acts 7:59, 60).
4. The Scripture points to a focused persecution of the New Testament church taking place in Acts 8:1 where it is stated that, “…at that time [when Stephen was stoned to death] there was a great persecution against the church which was in Jerusalem.”
5. Herod killed James the brother of John “…about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword” (Acts 12:1, 2).
6. Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison because they had set a woman free from an evil spirit of divination. “And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely: Who having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks” (Acts 16:23, 24).
7. In the city of Corinth, Paul was taken by a group of Jews and placed before Gallio, the proconsul of Achaia, Greece, for judgment against the content of his preaching.
“And when Gallio was the deputy [proconsul] of Achaia [most of Greece], the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat. Saying, this fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law” (Acts 18:12, 13). In this case, fortunate for Paul, Gallio ruled that, “I will be no judge of such matters” (Acts 18:15), but nonetheless the intent to inflict harm on Paul was present from the Jews!
8. Paul was tried before Felix in Caesarea (read all of Chapter 24 of the book of Acts).
9. Paul was tried before Festus and Agrippa (read Acts, Chapter 25 and 26).
10. The Apostle Paul lists his “resume of suffering” in 2 Corinthians 11:23–27. These were a natural outgrowth of his being “a fool for Christ.”
In addition to the above deaths and afflictions which are supported directly from the Scriptures, the following list may be obtained from historical documents of church history.
A. Andrew was bound to a cross where he preached to his persecutors until he died.
B. Barnabus of the Gentiles was stoned to death at Salonica.
C. Bartholomew was flayed alive.
D. James, the greater, was beheaded at Jerusalem.
E. James, the lesser, was thrown from a pinnacle of the temple and then beaten to death with a fuller’s club.
F. Jude was shot to death with arrows.
G. Luke was hanged on an olive tree in Greece.
H. Mark died in Alexandria after being dragged through the city streets.
I. Matthew died a martyr of the sword in Ethiopia.
J. Mattias was stoned and then beheaded.
K. John was put in a caldron of boiling oil, miraculously escaped death and was afterward banished to Patmos.
L. Paul was beheaded in Rome by Emperor Nero about AD 67.
M. Peter was crucified head downward in Rome about AD 67.
N. Thomas was run through with a lance at Coromandel in the East Indies.
Although there is much more that could be added to the listing above, we believe we have adequately established the fulfillment of the Matthew 24:9 statement that appears at the beginning of this Position Paper. Not only was the prophecy fulfilled, but fulfillment came during the “generation” of those to whom Jesus had spoken that statement!
Tertullian (155/160–220? AD) writing in reference to the close of the above time period refers to this time as being a war against the name of Christ. Anyone who used the description of “Christian” had already committed a crime that was serious enough to be put to death which seems to meet the intent of the prophecy “…ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.”