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Thread: Apostle John boiling in oil

  1. #1

    Apostle John boiling in oil

    I have heard that John was boiled in oil just before his exile to Patmos, but I don't find any biblical reference to this. Is there anything in the Bible to support this story? If not, where did this originate?

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    Re: Apostle John boiling in oil

    You can read one man's opinion about it here.

    http://www.born-again-christian.info...led-in-oil.htm
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

  3. #3

    Re: Apostle John boiling in oil

    From the Catholic Encyclopedia...

    The later accounts of John

    The Christian writers of the second and third centuries testify to us as a tradition universally recognized and doubted by no one that the Apostle and Evangelist John lived in Asia Minor in the last decades of the first century and from Ephesus had guided the Churches of that province.

    In his "Dialogue with Tryphon" (Chapter 81) St. Justin Martyr refers to "John, one of the Apostles of Christ" as a witness who had lived "with us", that is, at Ephesus. St. Irenæus speaks in very many places of the Apostle John and his residence in Asia and expressly declares that he wrote his Gospel at Ephesus (Against Heresies III.1.1), and that he had lived there until the reign of Trajan (loc. cit., II, xxii, 5). With Eusebius (Church History III.13.1) and others we are obliged to place the Apostle's banishment to Patmos in the reign of the Emperor Domitian (81-96).

    Previous to this, according to Tertullian's testimony (De praescript., xxxvi), John had been thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil before the Porta Latina at Rome without suffering injury. After Domitian's death the Apostle returned to Ephesus during the reign of Trajan, and at Ephesus he died about A.D. 100 at a great age.

    Tradition reports many beautiful traits of the last years of his life: that he refused to remain under the same roof with Cerinthus (Irenaeus "Ad. haer.", III, iii, 4); his touching anxiety about a youth who had become a robber (Clemens Alex., "Quis dives salvetur", xiii); his constantly repeated words of exhortation at the end of his life, "Little children, love one another" (Jerome, "Comm. in ep. ad. Gal.", vi, 10). On the other hand the stories told in the apocryphal Acts of John, which appeared as early as the second century, are unhistorical invention.



    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08492a.htm

  4. #4

    Re: Apostle John boiling in oil

    Thanks guys for these posts. The story is a powerful one and certainly fits with the way the apostles were treated by Roman Ceasars. From what I gather from both posts, Tertullian is the one who is most credited with the story. I will have to do some research on him.

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    Re: Apostle John boiling in oil

    One thing about John though ... that man lived what he preached and wasn't afraid to personally invest himself into people. I read a story about him and a man struggling to repent, and John got down on his knees in prayer with him, crying and laboring, and didn't get back up again until it was all over. Personal investment. So powerful. So needed today. John knew what love was and lived it out. That, to me, speaks greater volumes of who John was as a person than some story about being boiled in oil and making it out alive, quite frankly.

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    Re: Apostle John boiling in oil

    Quote Originally Posted by t1mlew1s View Post
    Thanks guys for these posts. The story is a powerful one and certainly fits with the way the apostles were treated by Roman Ceasars. From what I gather from both posts, Tertullian is the one who is most credited with the story. I will have to do some research on him.
    You wold do well to read their writings. You find Tertullian in the Ante-Nicene fathers set. He's in volume 3 and 4.

  7. #7

    Re: Apostle John boiling in oil

    I prefer Scriptures as a guideline:

    ***Rev 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

    There is absolutely no idea of banishment there. He went to Patmos to receive the Word just as Paul went to Arabia. Be careful of tradition.
    Last edited by James414; Sep 5th 2012 at 11:29 AM. Reason: spelling

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    Re: Apostle John boiling in oil

    Quote Originally Posted by t1mlew1s View Post
    I have heard that John was boiled in oil just before his exile to Patmos, but I don't find any biblical reference to this. Is there anything in the Bible to support this story? If not, where did this originate?
    Not everything you might want to know about the early Christians and martyrs or even, I would dare to say, Jesus, is in the Bible. As John himself wrote, "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written everyone, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written" (John 21:25, KJV). The Lord told us while He was still on the earth that some after Him would do greater works than He had done (John 14:12).

    John was taken to Rome for trial under Nero, was sentenced to death, and survived both a cup of poison and the cauldron of boiling oil, and then, as you point out, was sent to Patmos. I believe he was the only Evangelist and only Apostle to die a natural death. You can find the story of his life in any of the books of the lives of the saints, written and preserved by early Christians as a witness to their faith. I am posting the full life of John below, from oca.org/orthodoxy. We do not hold that such writings have the same authority as Scripture, but we find them useful as a source of examples (Cf. 1 Cor 11:1 - Be ye imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ. There is a long discussion about why we (Orthodox) find the lives of the saints helpful here: http://orthodoxinfo.com/general/place_lives.aspx



    The Holy, Glorious All-laudable Apostle and Evangelist, Virgin, and Beloved Friend of Christ, John the Theologian was the son of Zebedee and Salome, a daughter of St Joseph the Betrothed. He was called by our Lord Jesus Christ to be one of His Apostles at the same time as his elder brother James. This took place at Lake Gennesareth (i.e. the Sea of Galilee). Leaving behind their father, both brothers followed the Lord.

    The Apostle John was especially loved by the Savior for his sacrificial love and his virginal purity. After his calling, the Apostle John did not part from the Lord, and he was one of the three apostles who were particularly close to Him. St John the Theologian was present when the Lord restored the daughter of Jairus to life, and he was a witness to the Transfiguration of the Lord on Mount Tabor.

    During the Last Supper, he reclined next to the Lord, and laid his head upon His breast. He also asked the name of the Savior's betrayer. The Apostle John followed after the Lord when they led Him bound from the Garden of Gethsemane to the court of the iniquitous High Priests Annas and Caiphas. He was there in the courtyard of the High Priest during the interrogations of his Teacher and he resolutely followed after him on the way to Golgotha, grieving with all his heart.

    At the foot of the Cross he stood with the Mother of God and heard the words of the Crucified Lord addressed to Her from the Cross: "Woman, behold Thy son." Then the Lord said to him, "Behold thy Mother" (John 19:26-27). From that moment the Apostle John, like a loving son, concerned himself over the Most Holy Virgin Mary, and he served Her until Her Dormition.

    After the Dormition of the Mother of God the Apostle John went to Ephesus and other cities of Asia Minor to preach the Gospel, taking with him his own disciple Prochorus. They boarded a ship, which floundered during a terrible tempest. All the travellers were cast up upon dry ground, and only the Apostle John remained in the depths of the sea. Prochorus wept bitterly, bereft of his spiritual father and guide, and he went on towards Ephesus alone.

    On the fourteenth day of his journey he stood at the shore of the sea and saw that the waves had cast a man ashore. Going up to him, he recognized the Apostle John, whom the Lord had preserved alive for fourteen days in the sea. Teacher and disciple went to Ephesus, where the Apostle John preached incessantly to the pagans about Christ. His preaching was accompanied by such numerous and great miracles, that the number of believers increased with each day.

    During this time there had begun a persecution of Christians under the emperor Nero (56-68). They took the Apostle John for trial at Rome. St John was sentenced to death for his confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but the Lord preserved His chosen one. The apostle drank a cup of deadly poison, but he remained alive. Later, he emerged unharmed from a cauldron of boiling oil into which he had been thrown on orders from the torturer.

    After this, they sent the Apostle John off to imprisonment to the island of Patmos, where he spent many years. Proceeding along on his way to the place of exile, St John worked many miracles. On the island of Patmos, his preaching and miracles attracted to him all the inhabitants of the island, and he enlightened them with the light of the Gospel. He cast out many devils from the pagan temples, and he healed a great multitude of the sick.

    Sorcerers with demonic powers showed great hostility to the preaching of the holy apostle. He especially frightened the chief sorcerer of them all, named Kinops, who boasted that they would destroy the apostle. But the great John, by the grace of God acting through him, destroyed all the demonic artifices to which Kinops resorted, and the haughty sorcerer perished in the depths of the sea.

    The Apostle John withdrew with his disciple Prochorus to a desolate height, where he imposed upon himself a three-day fast. As St John prayed the earth quaked and thunder rumbled. Prochorus fell to the ground in fright. The Apostle John lifted him up and told him to write down what he was about to say. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord, Who is and Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty" (Rev 1:8), proclaimed the Spirit of God through the Apostle John. Thus in about the year 67 the Book of Revelation was written, known also as the "Apocalypse," of the holy Apostle John the Theologian. In this Book were predictions of the tribulations of the Church and of the end of the world.

    After his prolonged exile, the Apostle John received his freedom and returned to Ephesus, where he continued with his activity, instructing Christians to guard against false teachers and their erroneous teachings. In the year 95, the Apostle John wrote his Gospel at Ephesus. He called for all Christians to love the Lord and one another, and by this to fulfill the commands of Christ. The Church calls St John the "Apostle of Love", since he constantly taught that without love man cannot come near to God.

    In his three Epistles, St John speaks of the significance of love for God and for neighbor. Already in his old age, he learned of a youth who had strayed from the true path to follow the leader of a band of robbers, so St John went out into the wilderness to seek him. Seeing the holy Elder, the guilty one tried to hide himself, but the Apostle John ran after him and besought him to stop. He promised to take the sins of the youth upon himself, if only he would repent and not bring ruin upon his soul. Shaken by the intense love of the holy Elder, the youth actually did repent and turn his life around.

    St John when he was more than a hundred years old. he far outlived the other eyewitnesses of the Lord, and for a long time he remained the only remaining eyewitness of the earthly life of the Savior.

    When it was time for the departure of the Apostle John, he went out beyond the city limits of Ephesus with the families of his disciples. He bade them prepare for him a cross-shaped grave, in which he lay, telling his disciples that they should cover him over with the soil. The disciples tearfully kissed their beloved teacher, but not wanting to be disobedient, they fulfilled his bidding. They covered the face of the saint with a cloth and filled in the grave. Learning of this, other disciples of St John came to the place of his burial. When they opened the grave, they found it empty.

    Each year from the grave of the holy Apostle John on May 8 came forth a fine dust, which believers gathered up and were healed of sicknesses by it. Therefore, the Church also celebrates the memory of the holy Apostle John the Theologian on May 8.

    The Lord bestowed on His beloved disciple John and John's brother James the name "Sons of Thunder" as an awesome messenger in its cleansing power of the heavenly fire. And precisely by this the Savior pointed out the flaming, fiery, sacrificial character of Christian love, the preacher of which was the Apostle John the Theologian. The eagle, symbol of the lofty heights of his theological thought, is the iconographic symbol of the Evangelist John the Theologian. The appellation "Theologian" is bestown by Holy Church only to St John among the immediate disciples and Apostles of Christ, as being the seer of the mysterious Judgments of God.

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    Re: Apostle John boiling in oil

    What interested me rather is,

    John 21:
    19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

    20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

    22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”


    It appears to me that these verses are a prophecy about Peter's (and other disciples') death. It seems that "follow me" tells that Peter will be crucified. Maybe it is also hinted that other disciples will also be martyred but except John. I think that's why Peter asks why John is so special. While it turns out that John is the only one among them who died a natural death.

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    Re: Apostle John boiling in oil

    Quote Originally Posted by James414 View Post
    I prefer Scriptures as a guideline:

    ***Rev 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

    There is absolutely no idea of banishment there. He went to Patmos to receive the Word just as Paul went to Arabia. Be careful of tradition.
    Thank you for the theological reference. Admittedly, I fell prey to tradition and led to believe the isle of Patmos was exile. Now I know better.

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    Re: Apostle John boiling in oil

    Quote Originally Posted by Litehaus19 View Post
    Thank you for the theological reference. Admittedly, I fell prey to tradition and led to believe the isle of Patmos was exile. Now I know better.
    His post, with no proof, cleared it up for you? John was placed there because he was preaching the Word, not in order to receive the Word, as the poster claimed.

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    Re: Apostle John boiling in oil

    Thank you CBH....From all I've read and studied about Patmos, and John being sent there, it was because the powers that be really didn't know what else to do with him. He wouldn't shut up. They couldn't kill him (though they tried to), so they sent him to the isle of Patmos. Someone with anything more difinitive, please chime in.

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    Re: Apostle John boiling in oil

    Quote Originally Posted by James414 View Post
    I prefer Scriptures as a guideline:

    ***Rev 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

    There is absolutely no idea of banishment there. He went to Patmos to receive the Word just as Paul went to Arabia. Be careful of tradition.
    Scripture is a good guideline. Note it states here that John suffered tribulation. It also states why he suffered tribulation - the same reason any of us suffer tribulation - for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. Therefore there is a clear connection between tribulation and John being on the isle of Patmos. It is clearly connected and not separate. CBH hits the nail on the head with his point that there is no scriptural support for John choosing to go to Patmos, and in fact many reasons to assume he didn't wish to go at all. However God uses what befalls us for His glory, and so this is true in Revelation too.

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    Re: Apostle John boiling in oil

    Also he says,

    "... was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ."

    Which means the reason he gave for being on Patmos was because of the testimony of Christ. I think it's clear that he was sent there against his will.



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    Re: Apostle John boiling in oil

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkins View Post
    What interested me rather is,

    John 21:
    19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

    20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

    22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”


    It appears to me that these verses are a prophecy about Peter's (and other disciples') death. It seems that "follow me" tells that Peter will be crucified. Maybe it is also hinted that other disciples will also be martyred but except John. I think that's why Peter asks why John is so special. While it turns out that John is the only one among them who died a natural death.
    The interesting thing is, both the first words of Jesus to Peter, and the last words, were "Follow me".

    The first words to Peter are in Mar 1:17: "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."

    The last words: Joh 21:22 Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me."

    I think the message to Peter is the same as for all of us. Follow me! Jesus says. And he isn't talking about twitter.
    In Christ,

    -- Rev

    “To preserve the government we must also preserve morals. Morality rests on religion; if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are waste paper.” – Daniel Webster, 4th of July, 1800, Oration at Hanover, N.H.

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