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The Fate of Peter

After his miraculous release from prison recorded in Acts 12, specific details of Apostle Peter’s life are largely left out of the Biblical narrative.[1] Except for having two epistles written by him to believers (1 & 2 Peter), we are left only with history and traditions that were passed along by the Church and written down in accounts by church historians.

“Peter is credited with squelching these “flames of Evil” before taking his place as the bishop, or leader, of the Church of Rome.”

A great compiler of these documents is the Church leader and historian Eusebius, writing from Caesarea Maritima in the early fourth century AD (AD 260-339).[2] Eusebius lived through the brutal Christian persecutions of Emperor Diocletian and survived to see Emperor Constantine declare Christianity legal.[3] Eusebius was not a stranger to pain and controversy, and it is from this context that he gathers the records of the lives and deaths of the apostles (recorded in his Church Histories).

According to this history, the Apostle Peter and his wife travelled much before arriving in what would be their final earthly destination: Rome.[4] According to Eusebius (and testified to by other historians Iranaeus, Justin Martyr, and Hegesippus)[5], Simon the Sorcerer, who stars in Acts 8 in a conflict with Peter, had made a new living as a false teacher in Rome. Peter is credited with squelching these “flames of Evil” before taking his place as the bishop, or leader, of the Church of Rome.[6] This leadership, however, must have been short lived.

In AD 64, Emperor Nero began an extermination of the Christians of Rome. In a brutal display of uncontrolled malice, Nero’s personal gardens were used as display grounds for the bodies of executed Christians. Paul, as a citizen of Rome, was mercifully beheaded, but Peter with many unknown believers was crucified. Tradition holds that Peter’s wife was executed before him; bound and thrown to wild animals to instill fear in the hearts of the men awaiting execution. Peter’s last words to his wife as she was being led to slaughter are famed to have been a calling out of her name followed by, “Remember the Lord!”[7]

 

Corie Bobechko | November 29, 2019 – 9:10 AM EST


[1] See Acts 12:17, Peter is reportedly in Jerusalem for the council recorded in Acts 15, but testifying to his travels are mentions in 1 Corinthians 1, possibly his intended readers recorded in 1 Peter 1, and many Church traditions.
[2] Maier, Paul L., (1999). Eusebius Church History: A New Translation with Commentary, 9.
[3] Maier, Paul L., (1999). Eusebius Church History: A New Translation with Commentary, 10-11.
[4] Maier, Paul L., (1999). Eusebius Church History: A New Translation with Commentary, 72-73, 118.
[5] Lockyer, Herbert. (1972). All the Apostles of the Bible, 256.
[6] Maier, Paul L., (1999). Eusebius Church History: A New Translation with Commentary, 72.
[7] Maier, Paul L., (1999). Eusebius Church History: A New Translation with Commentary, 118-119.

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