Author Archives: corycornelius

About corycornelius

I am a student at Jacksonville State University. I am majoring in English and minoring in Communications. I am a sister of Alpha Xi Delta.

Revelation Allusion in Dexter

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Earlier this semester, my boyfriend started my addiction to Netflix. My first addiction was Dexter. Aside from Dexter (Michael C. Hall) being insanely attractive, the storylines are unique. I don’t know many shows that focus on a “good-guy” serial killer whose sister is a homicide detective.This allusion contains a massive amount of spoilers; so, if you have any inclination of watching Dexter, don’t read this. 

Dexter was orphaned at the age of three. Dexter was adopted by Harry Morgan, a policeman, who recognized his homicidal tendencies and taught him to channel his  passion for human dissection in a “constructive” way. Dexter only kills criminals who have slipped through the  cracks in the justice system. Dexter works as a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Metro Police Department. Both Dexter’s wife was killed by a serial killer. 

In season 6, religion is addressed in a very unsubtle way. The two main antagonist in season 6 are the not so subtle allusion to Revelation. The Doomsday Killers (DDK) are Professor James Gellar  and his student Travis Marshall. These two want to bring about the end of the world through killings based on Revelation.

 

There are many allusions throughout the season.

In episode 1, the DDK are seen looking for a pregnant water snake. The need seven live water snake babies. This alludes to Revelation 12 where a woman gives birth to a dragon with seven heads. The DDK murder a man at a fruit stand and place the seven snakes into his belly forming the Greek letters Alpha and Omega. This is an allusion to Revelation 1:8.

At the end of  episode 3,  there are four horse with horribly disfigured bodies riding them. This is an allusion to Revelation 6:1-8.

Episode 4 begins with Dexter fascinated with the four horses. The four horse have been painted with the Greek letters Alpha and Omega. This is the episode where the police start putting together the pieces that the DDK are using Revelation as inspiration. The police learn that Geller, half of the DDK, was fired from his university job for stealing a sword that belonged to John the Revelator. A victim is hung in a greenhouse. When the police find her, she is still alive. An officer trips a wire and the woman falls to her death. She lands as if she has wings like an angel. Dexter hears a buzzing sound and finds the cause: a closet door full of locust. The locust are an allusion to Revelation 9.

Episode 5 is where the DDK begins looking for the whore of Babylon. This is an allusion to Revelation 17. However, in Episode 6, they let the “whore” go.

In episode 8,  a different Whore of Babylon is found dead sitting on a crocodile seat and seven heads. This is an allusion to Revelation 17 and her fall in Revelation 18.

In episode 9, The words “BRING THE FALSE PROPHET TO THE CHURCH”  are written in blood on a mirror. The false prophet is an allusion to most of the New Testament as well as Revelation. Up until this episode, everyone believes that the DDK are two people. This is changed during this episode.

In episode 10, DDK paints a picture of Wormwood and the poisoning of mankind. This is an allusion to Revelation 8:11. Episode 11 is when Dexter saves the entire police department by stopping the DDK accomplice from setting off the Wormwood poison gas.

Episode 12 is entitled “This is the Way the World Ends”. During this episode, a solar eclipse is scheduled to happen. DDK has painted a massive mural of Dexter as the Beast in the Lake of Fire. Minus the Dexter aspect, this is an allusion to Revelation 20. Dexter has a son, Harrison, who attends a Catholic preschool.  Harrison has a preschool pageant of Noah’s Ark. Harrison is dressed as a lamb, the symbol of innocence. DDK kidnaps Harrison and takes him to the rooftop of a building where there is an altar built. DDK considers Dexter the beast but considers Harrison innocent. Kind of ironic.

This season of Dexter has very obvious allusions to Revelation. Even though these are obvious allusions, without knowledge of the Bible and Revelation, the audience would not understand the significance of the references. Since I was exposed to Revelation, I understood from the beginning of the season Revelation would play a major role. This season might have been my favorite.

 

What is the Importance of the 7 Churches?

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To me, Revelation is one of the most confusing books of the Bible. I read Revelation at the beginning of the week, but I put off writing my blog so that I could soak up all of the imagery and symbolism. Even though I had all week to think about Revelation, I was really just stuck on the Seven Churches. Who are the Seven Churches? Why are they important? Why those specific churches?

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet  saying, ‘Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.’ ” -Revelation 1:10-11

Seven Churches of Asia

These churches are called multiple things: the Seven Churches of Revelation, the Seven Churches of Asia, and the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse.  Even though they are called different names, each name is referring to the same seven churches. As we have learned, a church is a community not just a meeting house or building. These churches are all located in Asia Minor, which is now Turkey. (www.rmsbibleengineering.com)

Each church is written a letter within Revelation. Each church has a specific characteristic that makes it stand out from the others.

Ephesus (2:1-7) – the loveless church

  • Ephesus was an ancient city known for the Temple of Artemis. Paul lived here and helped found this church. Paul also wrote to the Church in Ephesus (Ephesians) from prison.

Smyrna (2:8-11) – the persecuted church 

  • Smyrna was located 40 miles north of Ephesus. This city had many temples and statues to Roman and Greek gods.

Pergamum (2:12-17) – the compromising church 

  • Pergamum was the Roman capital of the province. It was located 5o miles north of Smyrna. There was a temple to Caesar and many pagan gods/goddesses.

Thyatira (2:18-29) – the corrupt church

  • Paul and Silas may have visited this church.  It is about 50 miles from the Mediterranean. It was the center of the indigo trade.

Sardis (3:1-6) – the dead church

  • Sardis was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia, one of the important cities of the Persian Empire, and the seat of a proconsul under the Roman Empire. The Sardis Synagogue is located here.

Philadelphia (3:7-13) – the faithful church

  • Philadelphia was in the administrative district of Sardis. There is nothing but praise during the book of Revelation about Philadelphia. It means “city of brotherly love.”

Laodicea (3:14-22) – the lukewarm church

  • There was a prominent Jewish community here. Laodicea is mentioned in Colossians. First Timothy may have been written here according to some translations.

 

The Churches chosen were representations of the “spiritual condition” that was going on at the time. (www.discoverrevelation.com) All of these cities were near the island of Patmos where John was exiled. John would have been familiar with these churches and their strengths and weaknesses.

The importance of these specific churches depends on which interpretation is viewed.

According to the Historicist, they believe that each church represents a time period within the Church’s past and future.

  1. “The age of Ephesus is the apostolic age.
  2. The age of Smyrna is the persecution of the Church through A.D. 313.
  3. The age of Pergamum is the compromised Church lasting until A.D. 500.
  4. The age of Thyatira is the rise of the papacy to the Reformation.
  5. The age of Sardis is the age of the Reformation.
  6. The age of Philadelphia is the age of evangelism.
  7. The age of Laodicea represents liberal churches in a “present day” context.”  (www.bluemountainmission.com)

According to the Preterist, all of the prophecies have been completed and were completed during the 1st Century. (preterismmatters.webs.com). The Seven Churches were defined by their characteristics at the time, but are not defined by them now.

Futurist  believe  that  the Revelation prophesies’ events will take place in the future. The Seven Churches were defined by their characteristics and will probably be defined by those same characteristics during the Great Tribulation.

The Idealist view says that Revelation describes  the battle throughout the ages between God and Satan and good against evil. This is described by using symbolic language. (www.probe.org). The Seven Churches were described in symbolic language and may or may not have actually been defined by those characteristics.

Why was 2 and 3 John Canonized?

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For our Epistles project, one of the questions we had to answer was why the book was canonized. So, as I read through looking for a topic to write about, I noticed that 2 and 3 John were not like the other books we have read. These two books are much different. The most easily seen difference is the length of the two books.

Second John has one chapter and thirteen verses.  Third John has one chapter and fifteen verses. Compared to the length of other books of the Bible, 2 and 3 John would be the equivalent to a long text message. Why, then, did these two short books become part of the biblical canon?

“The Muratorian canon is a manuscript fragment that represents the oldest known orthodox list (or canon) of the New Testament.” (www.churchhistory101.com). The Muratorian canon was compiled between 170-200 AD. The Muratorian canon included the following works: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John,Acts, all 13 Pauline letters, 1  John (possibly combined with 2 John), Jude, and Revelation.

A book is canonized based on three things: “apostolicity, true doctrine (regula fidei), and widespread geographical usage,” (www.britannica.com)

2 John:

Apostolicity: The author is the Apostle John according to www.gty.org. The author refers to himself as “the Elder”. This could mean that the Apostle John was old in age.

True Doctrine: Although the book is very short, it reiterates the basis of Christianity.  It tells the “elect lady” to love others and beware of false teachers.

Widespread Geographical Usage: The reason 2 John was written was to warn of showing false teachers hospitality. There are many “false teachers” during this time. Many people used this letter to justify the lack of Christian hospitality.

 

3 John: 

Apostolicity:  It is believed that the same person wrote 3 John that wrote 2 John, (www.gty.org). This letter can not be dated. However, the source says that word usage matches 1 and 2 John and may have been written closely together while John was in Ephesus.

True Doctrine: Like 2 John, this is a personal letter. There are many specific people mentioned. Unlike in 2 John, the author condemns those who do not show hospitality to others.

Widespread Geographical Usage: Hospitality and loving others are both important parts of Christianity. This book is used to justify showing hospitality to those in the Church.

 

Second and third John were disputed for many years because the letters were short, informal, written to one individual, and did not have a lot of theological basis. However, both books met the qualifications for canonization, and are now in the Bible.

And Who Were They?

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While reading Philippians this week, I noticed a lot of names I did not know. I wanted to know who these people were and why they were significant to the Church at Philippi.

Timothy:

Timothy is a prominent name person. I mean, he does have two books of the Bible named after him, but who is he?

According to biblestudytools.com, “Timothy was one of the best known of Paul’s companions and fellow-laborers. He was evidently one of Paul’s own converts.” Most of what we know about Timothy is from others’ writings of him. His grandmother’s name was Lois, and his mother’s name was Eunice. He was Jewish but was not circumcised. Timothy was a preacher. The Church at Philippi was excited to learn that Timothy would be coming to them.

Epaphroditus:

Pronounced: EE-pae-froh-dAY-tuhs (www.pronouncenames.com)

Philippians 2:25-29 is the only mention of Epaphroditus in the Bible. At some point, Epaphroditus had been very sick and almost died. His main job was” straightforward; take the monetary gift from Philippi and bring it to Paul to help support his preaching of the gospel.” (www.bible.ca) This job would have taken  a lot of time and respect for the Church.

Euodia and Syntyche:

These two women are mentioned in Philippians 4:2. They were leaders in the Church at Philippi. “It was not unusual for women to have leadership roles in Philippi… It has been well documented that Macedonian women enjoyed greater freedoms, rights, and powers than many other women of that time.” (newlife.id.au) While researching, there were many websites that said these two women were fighting, and that is why Paul is “entreating” the two women to ” agree in the Lord.” In the English Standard Version of the Bible, I do not see that these women are fighting.

Clement:

According to newlife.id.au, we do not know who Clement was. All we know is that he worked with Euodia and Syntyche. However, according to www.christianity.com, this is a future bishop. “Interpreters make no question that this is the same Clement who succeeded St. Paul, after Linus and Anaclet, in the government of the church of Rome.” Clement is written about in apostolic books. According to the apostolic books, Clement was a constant follower of Paul. Clement became bishop in 91 AD.

Who Was Cornelius?

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I have been so excited all week to write this blog. I know the story of Acts 10 just as well as I know the story of Harry Potter. I love this story. However, the only real reason I love this story is because it is about a guy who just happens to have my last name. I have always had a lot of questions about Cornelius.

Who was Cornelius? Why was he significant? Did Cornelius already believe in Yahweh? Is this the only account we have of Cornelius?

Who was Cornelius?

Cornelius was a centurion (10:1). A centurion, according to www.britannica.com,  “was the commander of a centuria, which was the smallest unit of a Roman legion.” Cornelius probably commanded around 100 men. A centurion is equivalent to an army captain. Cornelius lived in Caesarea (10:1). At the time, Caesarea was a” mainly Gentile city” and the “residence of the Roman Proconsul” (www.biblegateway.com). Cornelius was “a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God,” (Acts 10:2). 

Why was Cornelius significant?

Cornelius was “a devout man” and a Gentile. At noon, Cornelius had a” vision of an angel of God” (Acts 10:3). Cornelius was frightened (4). He did as the angel instructed him to do so. He sent for Peter who was on the outskirts of Joppa. Joppa  to Caesarea is about a 3 to 4 day round-trip journey. Peter came and preached to Cornelius and his household. This would have included his family, servants, and the servants’ families. According to the Christian church, Cornelius was the first Gentile Christian. This means that Cornelius and his household became completely devoted to Yahweh without converting to Judaism.

Cornelius sent servants to find Peter and bring him back.

Cornelius sent servants to find Peter and bring him back.

Did Cornelius already believe in Yahweh?

The short answer is yes. According to the characteristics that are listed in verses 1 and 2, Cornelius was a moral man who feared Yahweh. Peter came after Cornelius’ vision and his own to signify that Yahweh did not consider Gentiles unclean.

Is this the first account of Cornelius in the Bible?

This is the first and only account in the Bible that specifically mentions Cornelius. However, in Luke 7, there is mention of a Roman centurion who was stationed in  Capernaum at the time of Jesus’ early ministry.  Caesarea is about 45 miles away from Capernaum. Cornelius could have very well lived in and over saw this area at some point in his career.  This centurion had a servant who was very ill. The centurion sent for Jesus to heal his servant. As a Roman, this would have shown great faith in Jesus. Not only did this centurion send for Jesus to heal his servant, but he also built a synagogue for the Jewish people.  “When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” (Luke 7:9). Personally, I think that this centurion may have been Cornelius a few years before his conversion. I think that since the centurion from Luke was faithful to Jesus, the writer of Acts would want to include a “reward”.

 

This blog was very interesting for me to write. I learned a lot about a man I kind of knew. I also made connections I had never made before.

Biblical Clichés: How Many Do We Really Say?

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Earlier this week, I was at the fabulous establishment of Wal-Mart running around  like a chicken with its head cut off looking for something to give my boyfriend for Valentine’s Day. I was with my sorority little sister who said, “Big, it is the blind leading the blind. It’s not like I know what to get either.” That’s when it hit me. We say so many clichés that come from the Bible. I called my grandmother and my mom as soon as I started to write this. These are things they told me they say or I have heard them say on a regular basis. Sometimes I open my mouth and my mother falls out; so, I’m sure I have been guilty of saying quite a few of these.

blind-leading-the-blindjapangovenrment

1.) “The blind leading the blind”

This cliché  means that uninformed people are in charge of other uniformed people. It comes from Matthew 15:13-14 . This is a metaphor that Jesus uses to explain how the Pharisees and Scribes were leading the masses when the people in charge  were no more knowledgeable  than the people they were teaching.

2.) “Apple of my eye”

This cliché refers to something /someone that one cherishes above everything else. This phrase can be found in four places in the Bible: Deuteronomy 32:10; Psalms 17:8-9;  Proverbs 7:2; and Zechariah 2:8. Normally, you hear this when someone is in a relationship and he says that his significant other is the apple of his eye. However, when this phrase is used in the context of the Bible, it is used in relationship to the laws of Yahweh.

3.) “Good Samaritan” 

Growing up in church, I have heard the parable of the Good Samaritan all of my life. This story can be found in Luke. Anytime you do something nice for a stranger, you are more likely than not called a “good Samaritan.” Most people I know are aware of this biblical connection.

eye for an eye

4.) “Eye for and eye” and “A tooth for a tooth”

Most people use this cliché for justifying revenge. It is the idea that for every wrong thing you have done, the same thing should happen to you. This phrase comes from the Torah (the law). Later, in the New Testament, Jesus says instead of “eye for an eye…tooth for a tooth”, to turn the other cheek. To me. this was the phrase used before the word “karma” became popular.

5.) “Spare the rod, spoil the child”

My parents have said this more times than I can count. I thought they used this saying to justify punishing my bad behavior. However, it came from the Bible. Proverbs 13:24 says, “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” So, according to the Bible, my parents must have loved me a whole lot.

6.) “You reap what you sow.”

This phrase comes from the book of Galatians. It means whatever you do, it will have consequences whether they are good or bad. This is my grandmother’s favorite phrase to use whenever I complain about studying 24/7. Whatever you reap (good grades), you sowed (studying).

Am I my brother's keeper?

7.) “Am I his/her keeper?”

I have been guilty of saying this cliché many times. When someone ask me where my best friend is, my instant reply is “what do I look like, her keeper?” This comes from Genesis. Cain replies to Yahweh with this question when Yahweh questions where Abel is.

8.) “Do as I say, not as I do.” 

If I had a dollar for everytime my mother has said this to me, I could pay off my student loans. This has its roots in Matthew 23:2-3. It states, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.”  Jesus is condemning the Pharisees and scribes for not doing what they preach (#9), and tells the crowds to not pay attention to the actions of the Pharisees and scribes.

9.) “Practice what you preach”

This comes from the same verse as above. I touched on it in #8. In today’s society, this phrase is normally uttered when someone calls you a hypocrite.

10.) “Like leading a lamb to the slaughter”

This is the phrase my grandmother uses when I am getting myself in to a situation that is going to turn out badly. This cliché comes from Jeremiah and Isaiah.

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11.) “Money is the root of all evil.”

This is probably the most misquoted phrase I know. This cliché comes from 1 Timothy 6:10. It states, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

12.) “Red sky at night, sailors delight; red sky at morning, sailors take warning.”

If you had told me that this cliché came from the Bible, I would call you a liar. I would be wrong. This saying comes from Matthew 16:2-3. It says, “He answered them,“When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red. And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’” This is one of the things I claim this as an “Universal Truth”. Who knew that its roots were from the Bible?

13.) ” The writing is on the wall.”

Until I read Daniel last semester, I thought this cliché was derived from Shakespeare. Not quite. In Daniel 5, there was a feast that was held by King Belshazzar.  At the feast, a disembodied hand appeared and wrote the words ” Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin”. This phrase is used when something is obvious. It is normally used in a negative connotation.

sheep's clothing

14.) “Wolf in sheep’s clothing”

This comes from Matthew 7:15. This is used as a warning against false prophets. It means that someone is acting a certain way to take advantage of someone else or a specific situation.

15.) “Turn the other cheek.”

This is the opposite of #4. Jesus says to turn the other cheek when someone hits you instead of hitting them back. This is found in Matthew 5:39. This is the justification of most nonviolent movements.

 

While some of these are not word for word quotes of the Bible, the basis of the clichés are. I feel like a lot of these are said in the South more than anywhere else. My best friend from Chicago claims to have only said three of these in her whole life. I really enjoyed finding where a lot of clichés came from. I was unaware that most of these came from the Bible at all.  Why did these clichés survive the generations? Did the Bible become so ingrained in our culture that even the clichés we use come from it?

Who were the Disciples?

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While reading this week, I read over the disciples names again for the 1 millionth time. Then, it hit me. I know nothing about these men who followed Jesus for his entire ministry. These men had a very vital part in the spread of Christianity, and all my life I just skimmed over their names. So, who were these 12 disciples? What did they do after Jesus’ death? How did they die?

Simon (Peter) & Andrew: 

Simon (Peter) was born in  Betsaida, a town in Galilee. He was the son of Jona and brother of the apostle Andrew.They were fishermen. Simon (Peter) was married.  He was a follower of John the Baptist.  Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter. Simon (Peter) was the “mouth piece” of the disciples. He was outspoken. He is most known for denying Jesus as the Son of God three times. In the book of Acts, Simon (Peter) is the one who preaches at Pentecost. Simon (Peter) is the one who converted Cornelius and his family, all Gentiles,  in Acts 10. Tradition says that persecution of the first Christians in Jerusalem led Peter to Rome, where he spread the gospel to the fledgling church there. Legend has it that the Romans were going to crucify Peter, but he told them he was not worthy to be executed in the same manner as Jesus, so he was crucified upside down.

Andrew is only mentioned 12 times in the Bible.  He was also a follower of John the Baptist. The Acts of St. Andrew, an apocryphal work from the 3rd century, says Andrew was arrested and executed in 60 CE while preaching on the northwest coast of Achaia. A 14th century tradition says he was crucified on an X-shaped cross, lasting for two days before dying.

James & John: 

James is the brother of John. James and John were fishermen. They knew Simon (Peter)  and Andrew. Jesus gave James the Greek name of “Boanerges” which translates as “Sons of Thunder.”  After Jesus’ death, we do not hear anything of James until his death.  He  was the first of the 12 apostles to be martyred. He was killed with the sword on order of King Herod Agrippa I of Judea, about 44 A.D., in a general persecution of the early church.

John was called the “beloved disciple”. He was the only apostle to stay with Jesus as he was dying on the cross.  John  has five books of the Bible attributed to him; the Gospel of John, Revelation, and three epistles. He is thought to be the only apostle to die a natural death at an old age.

Philip:

Philip was also from Bethsaida. Little is known about his life before Jesus. Philip introduced Bartholomew to Jesus. It is thought that Philip died during the reign of Domitian and was martyred aged 87 by being crucified upside down. In 2011,  excavation director Francesco D’Andria made a discovery in Hierapolis, a significant site in Christian Turkey. He claims to have found the tomb of Philip.

The discovered tomb of Philip

The discovered tomb of Philip

Bartholomew:

Little is written about Bartholomew. Bartholomew is also called Nathanael. He is skeptical of Jesus being the Messiah. After Jesus’ death, it is believed that Bartholomew went to India. It is said that he was martyred at Albanopolis in Armenia. The form of death is uncertain. Some say he was beheaded, and others say that he flayed alive and crucified, head downward

Matthew (Levi):

Matthew was called Levi before Jesus called him to be a disciple.  He was the son of Alpheus. Matthew was a tax collector. Matthew was in Capernaum when Jesus called him.  He is credited with the authorship of the Gospel of Matthew. There is a tradition that points to Ethiopia as his field of labor; other traditions mention of Parthia and Persia. It is uncertain whether he died a natural death or received the crown of martyrdom.

Thomas:

Doubting Thomas

 

Thomas’ early life is unknown. His name in Greek and Aramaic, Didymus,  means twin. In a non-canonical text,  the Acts of Thomas, it is suggested that Thomas was a carpenter and a member of Jesus’ immediate family. It is believed that Thomas went to Syria, ancient Persia, and India. Thomas is still known today as the apostle to India for the many churches that he formed and helped build there.Thomas died in India in 72 AD as a martyr for his faith when an Indian king, angry that he couldn’t get Thomas to worship an idol, ordered his high priest to stab Thomas with a spear.

James, the son of Alphaeus:

There is no information on this James other than him being named an apostle. Since there is no information on him, we do not know where he lived after Jesus’ death or how he died.

Simon (the Zealot):

Not much is known about Simon the Zealot’s life before or after Jesus.  It is commonly believed that Simon was called Zealot because of his adherence to the Jewish law and to the Canaanite law. He was one of the original followers of Christ. Western tradition is that he preached in Egypt and then went to Persia with St. Jude, where both suffered martyrdom.

Judas, son of James:

He is also called Thaddaeus or Jude.  As is common, not much is known about Judas. Tradition holds that he founded a church at Edessa and was crucified there as a martyr.

Judas of Iscariot:

Judas of Iscariot is the disciple who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. After Jesus’ arrest, Judas felt remorseful and hanged himself.

 

 

While I didn’t find solid information om any of the disciples, I did learn a little more about these men. It’s pretty hard to find any solid information on people who (may or may not have) lived 2000 years ago. I did realize about half way through the list the further down you go, the less you find. So, where these disciples listed in order of importance?