Where Did the TWELVE APOSTLES Go?
preached the gospel at
by Herman L. Hoeh
WHY HAS the truth about the journeys of the twelve apostles been kept from public knowledge?
You read plainly of Paul’s travels through
Now It Can Be Told!
Did it ever seem strange to you that most of the New Testament, following the book of Acts, was written by Paul, and not by Peter?
Did you ever wonder why, after Peter initiated the preaching of the
gospel to the Gentiles at the house of Cornelius (Acts 10 and 11), he
and others of the twelve apostles suddenly vanish from view? And why only Peter
and John reappear, for a fleeting moment, in
You read, after Acts 15, only of Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles.
Why? What happened to the twelve apostles?
There is a reason why the journeys of the twelve apostles have been cloaked in mystery — until now!
You probably have been told that Jesus chose the twelve disciples, ordained them apostles, sent them, first, to preach to the Jews. When the Jews, as a nation, rejected that message, you probably have supposed that they turned to the Gentiles. Nothing could be further from the truth.
It was the apostle Paul, called years later as a special apostle, who was commissioned to bear the gospel to the Gentiles.
To Ananias, who was sent to baptize Paul, Christ gave this assurance:
way: for he” — Saul, later named Paul — “he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear
My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of
It was Paul, not any of the twelve, who said: “From henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles” (Acts 18:6).
Jesus would not have called Paul as a special apostle to carry the gospel to the Gentiles, if the original twelve had been commissioned to preach to the Gentiles.
Then to whom — and where — were the twelve apostles sent?
Jesus’ Commission Tells
Notice the surprising answer — in Matthew 10:5-6: “These twelve
Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the
Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to
the lost sheep of the house of
Read it, from your Bible, with your own eyes: “Go NOT into the way of the Gentiles . . . but go rather to the lost sheep of the HOUSE OF ISRAEL”!
Jesus meant what He said! He “commanded them.” The twelve were
forbidden to spread the gospel among the Gentiles. It was Paul who was commissioned
to that work. The twelve were to go, instead, to the “lost sheep of the house
Granted, Christ did send Peter to the home of Cornelius (Acts 10 and 11) to open the gospel to the Gentiles, but Peter’s life mission was to carry the gospel to “the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” Peter merely opened the door, as the chief apostle, for the Gentiles. It was Paul who went through the door and brought the gospel to the nations.
Granted, Peter, in his capacity of chief apostle, made one trip to the gentile Samaritans. But that was not to bring the gospel to them. Philip had done that! Peter and John merely prayed for the Samaritans that they would receive the Holy Spirit. (See Acts 8, verses 5, and 14 through 17.)
Now we know to whom the twelve apostles were sent. They were not sent
to the Gentiles, but to “the lost sheep of the House if
Now to discover where Peter and others of the twelve went after
That has been one of the best-kept secrets of history! If the world had known the lands to which the twelve apostles journeyed, the House of Israel would never have been lost from view! But God intended, for a special purpose, which few understand, that the identity of the lost House of Israel should not be revealed until this pulsating twentieth century!
From the sons of Jacob — surnamed
The northern ten tribes, who rejected Solomon’s son, became known as the
“House of Israel.” Its capital, later, was
The northern ten tribes, the House of Israel, were overthrown in a
three-year siege (721-718) by the mighty Assyrian Empire. Its people were led
into captivity beyond the
The House of Israel never returned to
The House of Judah — the Jews — remained in
Jesus “came unto His own” — the House of Judah, the Jews — “and His own received him not” (John 1:11). Jesus was of the lineage of David, of the House of Judah. When His own people — the Jews — rejected Him, He did not turn to the Gentiles. It was Paul who did.
Instead, Jesus said to the Gentile woman: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the House of Israel” (Mat. 15:24).
To fulfill, later, that divine mission — for Jesus was soon slain on
They did go, but history has lost sight of where they went! Their journeys have been shrouded in mystery — until now!
What New Testament Reveals
The history of the early New Testament Church is preserved in the book of Acts. But have you ever noticed that Acts ends in the middle of the story? Luke doesn’t even finish the life of Paul after his two-years’ imprisonment ended!
You will find the answer in Christ’s commission to Paul. Even before
Paul was baptized, Christ had planned the future work he was to accomplish.
First, Paul was to teach the Gentiles — which he did in
But Paul’s third mission was not yet accomplished! Christ had chosen
Paul for a threefold purpose — “to bear [His] name before the Gentiles, and
kings, and the children of
Luke was not permitted by Christ to include in Acts the final journeys
of Paul’s life. It would have revealed the whereabouts of the children of
It was not then God’s time to make that known. But the moment has now come, in this climactic “time of the end,” to pull back the shroud of history and reveal where the twelve apostles went.
Three MISSING Words
Now turn to the book of James. To whom is it addressed? Read it: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, TO THE TWELVE TRIBES WHICH ARE SCATTERED ABROAD, greeting” (first verse).
You probably never noticed that before. This book is not addressed to
the Gentiles. It is not addressed exclusively to
Have you ever noticed that the letter of James, like the book of Acts, ends abruptly, without the normal salutations? Read it — James 5:20.
Compare it with Paul’s epistles. In the original inspired Greek New Testament everyone of Paul’s letters ends with an “Amen.” Everyone of the four gospels ends with an “Amen.” The book of Revelation ends with an “Amen.”
This little word “Amen,” of Hebrew derivation, signifies completion. In the Authorized Version (most modern versions are incorrect, and in several instances carelessly leave off the proper ending found in the Greek) every one of the New Testament books ends with an “Amen” except three — Acts, James and III John. In these three, and these three only, the word “Amen” is not in the inspired original Greek. It is purposely missing. Why?
Each missing “Amen” is a special sign. It indicates God wants us to understand that certain knowledge was not to be made known to the world — until now, when the gospel is being sent around the world as a final witness before the end of this age.
God purposely excluded from the book of Acts the final chapters in the
history of the early true Church. If they had been included, the identity and
If the book of James had ended with the ordinary salutation, the nations
And why was the short letter of III John missing an “Amen”? Let John himself tell us, “I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee” (verse 13). John reveals, in the letter, a pagan conspiracy. It was a diabolical attempt by Simon Magus and his false apostles to seize the name of Christ, gain control of the true Church, and masquerade as “Christianity.” God did not permit John to make known, in plain language, the names of the leaders of that conspiracy, and the city of their operation. That is why John cut his letter short. The missing “Amen” is to tell us to look elsewhere in the Bible for the answer. It is described, if you have eyes to see, in Revelation 17, Acts 8, and many other chapters of the Bible. The time to unmask that conspiracy is now (II Thessalonians 2), just before the return of Christ.
But to return, for a moment, to the letter of James.
Wars Reveal Where
From James 4:1 we learn that wars were being waged among
the lost tribes of
What wars were these? No wars existed among the Jews until the outbreak, several years later, of the revolt against the Romans.
These wars absolutely identify the lost House of Israel — the lands to
which the twelve apostles journeyed. James wrote his book about A.D. 60 (he was
martyred about two years later, according to Josephus). The world was
temporarily at peace — cowed by the fear of Roman military might. Just prior to
A.D. 60 only two areas of the world were torn by wars and civil
fightings. When you discover which areas these were, you will have located
where the Lost Ten Tribes, addressed by James, were then living! All one need
do is search the records of military history for the period immediately before
and up to the year A.D. 60! The results will shock you! Those two lands were
But these were not the only lands to which the exiled House of Israel journeyed. Turn, in your Bible, to I Peter.
To Whom Did Peter Write?
To whom did Peter address his letters?
Here it is. “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered
These were not Gentiles. Peter was not the apostle to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:8). Paul was. Peter was chief apostle to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.
Notice the word “strangers.” It does not mean Gentiles. The original
Greek is parepidemos. It means “a resident foreigner,” literally, “an
alien alongside.” It refers not to Gentiles, but to non-Gentiles who dwelt
among Gentiles, as foreigners and aliens. Abraham, for example, was a
stranger, an alien, when he lived among the Canaanite Gentiles in
Peter was addressing part of the lost ten tribes who dwelt among the Gentiles as aliens or strangers. He was not writing primarily to Jews. He would not have addressed them as “strangers,” for he was himself a Jew.
Now notice the regions to which Peter addressed his letter. You may have
to look at a Bible map to locate them. They are all located in the northern
half of Asia Minor, modern
Paul did not preach in these districts. Paul spent his years in
Nowhere in your New Testament can you find Paul preaching in
Paul did spread the gospel in the province of Asia — but only in the
southern half, in the districts around
Paul did preach, on his first journey, in southern
Remnant of Ten
Tribes on Shores of
Notice the historic proof — confirming Peter’s letters — that a remnant
of the House of Israel was settled on the shores of the Black Sea in northern
Greek writers, in the time of Christ, recognized that the regions of
Notice the areas from which these colonies came —
The House of Israel dwelt in captivity as aliens or strangers among the
Assyrians. When the Assyrians were later removed from their homeland to
Here’s the proof from Strabo, the geographer. Strabo named the colonists
When the Assyrians were compelled to migrate to
We shall see later when and where these “lost sheep migrated
from Asia Minor to
Now to draw back the curtain of history. See where each of the twelve apostles preached. You’ll be amazed at the revelation.
What Greek Historians Report
Why is it that almost no one has thought of it before? If multitudes of
Greeks in Southern Asia Minor were being converted to Christ by the ministry of
Paul, and at the same time multitudes among the lost ten tribes of the House of
Israel were being converted in northern
Consider this also. The Greeks have not lost the Greek New Testament. They have handed it down from generation to generation. Is it not just as likely that Greek scholars should have preserved the true account of the ministry of the twelve apostles?
They have done just that!
Yet almost no one has believed them!
What the Greeks report is not what most people expect to find! Some, who
do not understand the difference between the House of Israel and the Jews,
imagine the apostles went exclusively to Jews. Even some of those who know
where the House of Israel is today, often cannot believe that several of the
Scholars have long puzzled over the remarkable information which the Greeks have handed down. These historical reports of the apostles are altogether different from the spurious apocryphal literature of the early Roman Catholic Church. Greek historians, in the early Middle Ages, have left us information from original documents that apparently are no longer extant. They had firsthand sources of information not now available, to the scholarly world. What do those Greek historians report?
One valuable source of information is the Greek and Latin Ecclesiasticae Historiae of Nicephorus Callistus. Another, in English, is Antiquitates Apostolicae by William Cave.
Universal Greek tradition declares that the apostles did not leave the SyroPalestinian region until the end of twelve years’ ministry. The number 12 symbolizes a new organized beginning. Before those twelve years were up, one of the apostles was already dead — James, the brother of John. He had been beheaded by Herod (Acts 12). But where did the remaining apostles go?
Simon Peter in Britain!
Begin with Simon Peter. Peter was made by Christ the chief among the twelve apostles to coordinate their work. Of necessity Peter would be found traveling to many more regions than he would personally be ministering to. The question is where did he spend most of his time?
We know Peter was for a limited time at Babylon in Mesopotamia, from which he wrote the letters to the churches in Asia Minor (I Peter 5:13).
Babylon was the major city from which the apostles in the east worked. Similarly Paul and the evangelists under him used Antioch in Syria as their chief city (Acts 14:26). The order in which Peter, in verse one of his first epistle, named the provinces of Asia Minor — from east to west and back — clearly proves that the letter was sent from Babylon in the east, not Rome in the west. Rome did not become designated as “Modern Babylon” until Christ revealed it, much later, after Peter’s death, in the book of Revelation, chapter 17.
Where did Peter spend most of his time after those first twelve years in Palestine?
Metaphrastes, the Greek historian, reports “that Peter was not only in these Western parts” — the Western Mediterranean — “but particularly that he was a long time” — here we have Peter’s main life work to the Lost Ten Tribes — a long time in Britain, where he converted many nations to the faith.” (See marginal note, p. 45, in Cave’s Antiquitates Apostolicae.)
Peter preached the gospel in Great Britain, not in Rome, the capital of the Gentile world. Paul, not Peter, preached in Rome. The true gospel had not been publicly preached in Rome before Paul arrived in A.D. 59. Paul never once mentions Peter in his epistle to the brethren in Rome, most of whom had been converted on Pentecost in 31 A.D.
Not even the Jews at Rome had heard the gospel preached before Paul arrived!
Here is Luke’s inspired account of Paul’s arrival in Rome: “And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together.” Continuing, Acts 28:21, “And they” — the Jews at Rome — “said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee. But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against. And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening” (verses 21-23).
Here is absolute proof the Jews at Rome had never heard the apostle Peter preach.
Oh yes, there had been a “Peter” in Rome — ever since the days of Claudius Caesar. That Peter was in a high office. He was chief of the Babylonian Mysteries. His office was that of a “Peter” — meaning an Interpreter or Opener of Secrets. The word peter, in Babylonian and Hebrew, means “opener” — hence it is used in the original Hebrew of the Old Testament for “firstling” — one that first opens the womb.
That Peter of Rome was named Simon, too. Simon Magus (Acts 8). He was the leading conspirator in the plot hatched by the priests of the pagan Babylonian-Samaritan Mysteries.
These plotters sought to seize upon the name of Christ as a cloak for their diabolical religion. These conspirators became the founders of what today masquerades in the world as the “Christian Religion.” (See III John.)
But Simon Peter, Christ’s apostle, was in Britain, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God. The very fact that Peter preached in Britain is proof in itself that part of the Lost House of Israel was already there! Peter was commissioned to go to the lost tribes.
And significantly, about A.D. 60, great wars overtook Britain — just as James warned (in the fourth chapter, verse 1) the twelve tribes of Israel! Could history be any clearer? For the full proof of the identity of Great Britain as chief tribe in Israel, write for the booklet United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy. It makes history and the Bible plain.
Where Are Peter and Paul Buried?
For centuries the Christian world has taken for granted that Peter and Paul are buried in Rome. No one, it seems, has thought to question the tradition.
Granted, Paul was brought to Rome about A.D. 67. He was beheaded, then buried on the Ostian Way. But are his remains still there?
Granted, too, that universal tradition declared the apostle Peter was also brought to Rome in Nero’s reign and martyred about the same time.
Many pieces of ancient literature — some spurious, some factual — confirm that both Simon Magus, the false apostle, who masqueraded as Peter, and Simon Peter himself died at Rome. The question is — which Simon is buried today under the Vatican? Is there proof that the bones of the apostles Peter and Paul were moved from Rome, and are not there now?
There is a reason the Vatican has been hesitant to claim the apostle Peter’s tomb has been found! They know that it is Simon Magus, the false Peter, who is buried there, not Simon Peter the apostle. Here is what happened. In the year 656 Pope Vitalian decided the Catholic Church was not interested in the remains of the apostles Peter and Paul. The Pope therefore ordered them sent to Oswy, King of Britain! Here is part of his letter to the British king:
“HOWEVER, WE HAVE ORDERED THE BLESSED GIFTS OF THE HOLY MARTYRS, THAT IS, THE RELICS OF THE BLESSED APOSTLES, PETER AND PAUL, AND OF THE HOLY MARTYRS LAURENTIUS, JOHN, AND PAUL, AND GREGORY, AND PANCRATIUS, TO BE DELIVERED TO THE BEARERS OF THESE OUR LETTERS, TO BE BY THEM DELIVERED TO YOU” (Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, bk. III, ch. 29).
Could anything be more astounding? The bones of Peter and Paul (termed “relics” in the Pope’s letter) sent by the Pope from Rome to Britain — to the land of Israel!
About a century and a half earlier Constantius of Lyons took the relics of all the apostles and martyrs from Gaul and buried them in a special tomb at St. Albans in Britain. (Life of St. Germanus.) Is it significant that the work of God and God’s College in Britain are in St. Albans? Think that over!
And Andrew His Brother?
Britain, after A.D. 449, was settled by hundreds of thousands of new people not there in Peter’s day. History knows them as Angles and Saxons. They came originally from the shores of the Black Sea — where the House of Israel dwelt! In A.D. 256 they began to migrate from northern Asia Minor along the shores of the Black Sea to the Cymbric Peninsula (Denmark) opposite Britain. These were the people to whose ancestors Peter wrote his epistles.
Which one of the twelve apostles preached to their ancestors — the so-called “White Syrians” – while they abode by the Bosporus and on the Black Sea? Listen to the answer from Greek historians:
“In this division Andrew had Scythia, and the neighboring countries primarily allotted him for his province. First then he traveled through Cappadocia, (Upper) Galatia and Bithynia, and instructed them in the faith of Christ, passing all along the Euxine Sea” — the old name for the Black Sea! — “. . . and so into the solitude of Scythia.”
One early Greek author gives these journeys in special detail, just as if Luke had written an account of the other apostles as he did of Paul. Andrew “went next to Trapezus, a maritime city on the Euxine Sea, whence after many other places he came to Nice, where he stayed two years, preaching and working miracles with great success: thence to Nicomedia, and so to Chalcedon; whence sailing through the Propontis he came by the Euxine Sea to Heraclea, and from thence to Amastris . . . . He next came to Sinope, a city situated upon the same sea . . . here he met with his brother Peter, with whom he stayed a considerable time . . . . Departing hence, he went again to Amynsus and then. . . he supposed to return to Jerusalem” — the headquarters Church. “Whence after some time he betook himself . . . to the country of Abasgi [a land in the Caucasus]. . . Hence he removed into . . . Asiatic Scythia or Sarmatia, but finding the inhabitants very barbarous and intractable, he stayed not long among them, only at Cherson, or Chersonesus, a great and populous city within the Bosporus [this Bosporus is the modern Crimea], he continued for some time, instructing them and confirming them in the faith. Hence taking ship, he sailed across the sea to Sinope, situated in Paphlagonia . . .” (pp. 137-138 of Cave’s Antiquitates Apostolicae).
Here we find Andrew preaching to the very area in Asia Minor, which Paul bypassed. From this region, and from Scythia north of the Black Sea, migrated the ancestors of the Scots and Anglo-Saxons, as we have already seen. They are of the House of Israel — or else Andrew disobeyed his commission!
And what of the modern Scottish tradition that Andrew preached to their ancestors? Significant? Indeed!
And the Other Apostles?
And where did Simon the Zealot carry the gospel? Here, from the Greek records, is the route of his journey:
Simon “directed his journey toward Egypt, then to Cyrene, and Africa . . . and throughout Mauritania and all Libya, preaching the gospel. . . . Nor could the coldness of the climate benumb his zeal, or hinder him from whipping himself and the Christian doctrine over to the Western Islands, yea, even to Britain itself. Here he preached and wrought many miracles . . . .” Nicephorus and Dorotheus both wrote “that he went at last into Britain, and . . . was crucified . . . and buried there” (p. 203 of Cave’s Antiq. Apost.).
Think of it. Another of the twelve apostles is found preaching to the Lost Tribes of Israel in Britain and the West. But what is Simon the Zealot doing in North Africa? Were remnants of the House of Israel there, too? Had some fled westward in 721 B.C., at the time of the Assyrian conquest of Palestine?
Here is Geoffrey of Monmouth’s answer: “The Saxons . . . went unto Gotmund, King of the Africans, in Ireland, wherein, adventuring thither with a vast fleet, he had conquered the folk of the country. Thereupon, by the treachery of the Saxons, he sailed across with a hundred and sixty thousand Africans into Britain . . . (and) laid waste, as hath been said, well-nigh the whole island with his countless thousands of Africans” (bk. xi, sect. 8, 10).
These countless thousands were not Negroes, or Arabs. They were whites —Nordics — who came from North Africa and Mauritania, where Simon preached. These Nordics, declares the Universal History (1748-Vol xviii, p.194), “gave out, that their ancestors were driven out of Asia by a powerful enemy, and pursued into Greece; from whence they made their escape” to North Africa. “But this . . . was to be understood only of the white nations inhabiting some parts of western Barbary and Numidia.”
What white nation was driven from the western shores of western Asia? The House of Israel! Their powerful enemy? The Assyrians!
For almost three centuries after the time of Simon Zelotes they remained in Mauritania. But they are not in North Africa today. They arrived in Britain shortly after A.D. 449, at the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasion.
In A.D. 598, when the bishop of Rome sent Augustine to bring Catholicism to England, he found the inhabitants were already professing Christians! Their ancestors had already heard the message from one of the twelve apostles!
And Ireland Too!
Another of the apostles sent to the lost sheep of the House of Israel was James, the son of Alphaeus. Some early writers were confused by the fact that two of the twelve apostles were named James. James, son of Alphaeus, was the one who left Palestine after the first twelve years. The deeds of this apostle are sometimes mistakenly assigned to James, John’s brother. But that James was already martyred by Herod (Acts 12:2).
Where did James, son of Alphaeus, preach?
“The Spanish writers generally contend, after the death of Stephen, he came to these Western parts, and particularly into Spain (some add Britain and Ireland) where he planted Christianity” (p. 148 of Cave’s work).
Note it. Yet another apostle sent to the lost sheep of the House of Israel ends in the British Isles — in Ireland as well as in Britain!
Eusebius, in his third book of Evangelical Demonstrations, chapter 7, admitted that the apostles “passed over to those which are called the British Isles.” Again he wrote: “Some of the Apostles preached the Gospel in the British Isles.” Could anything be plainer?
Even in Spain James spent some time. Why Spain? From ancient times Spain was the high road of migration from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the British Isles. The ancient royal House of Ireland for a time dwelt in Spain. The prophet Jeremiah passed through Spain into Ireland with Zedekiah’s daughters (Jeremiah 41:10; 43:6). Even today a vital part of the Iberian Peninsula — Gibraltar — belongs to the birthright tribe of Ephraim — the British!
Paul in Britain, Too?
Turn, now, to added proof of the apostles’ mission to the lost sheep of the House of Israel in the British Isles. From an old volume, published in 1674, by William Camden, we read: “The true Christian Religion was planted here most anciently by Joseph of Arimathea, Simon Zelotes, Aristobulus, by St. Peter, and St. Paul, as may be proved by Dorotheus, Theodoretus and Sophronius. (Remains of Britain, page 5).
Did you catch that?
Paul is now included! Had Paul planned to go from Italy into Spain and then Britain? Here is his answer:
“I will come by you into Spain” (Rom. 15:28). Clement of Rome, in his letter to the Corinthians, confirms Paul’s journey to the West. But did that include Britain?
Listen to the words of the Greek church historian Theodoret. He reports: “That St. Paul brought salvation to the isles that lie in the ocean” (book i, on Psalm cxvi. p. 870). The British Isles!
But was that merely to preach to the Gentiles? Not at all. Remember that the third and last part of Paul’s commission, after he revealed Christ to the kings and rulers at Rome, was to bear the name of Jesus to the “children of Israel” (Acts 9:15) — the Lost Ten Tribes. This is not a prophecy concerning Jews, whom Paul had previously reached in the Greek world of the eastern Mediterranean. This is a prophecy of Paul’s mission to the British Isles! Could anything be more astounding?
On the Shores of the Caspian Sea
James referred to Israel as scattered abroad. We have found them in Northwest Europe. And in North Africa, from whence they migrated into Britain in the fifth century. And in northern Asia Minor, associated with the Assyrians. In 256 they began to migrate from the regions of the Black Sea to Denmark, thence into the British Isles in 449.
But remnants of the Ten Lost Tribes were yet in another vast region beyond the confines of the Roman Empire. That region was known as the Kingdom of Parthia.
Who the Parthians were has long remained a mystery. They suddenly appear near the Caspian Sea around 700 B.C. as slaves of the Assyrians. “According to Diodorus, who probably followed Ctesias, they passed from the dominion of the Assyrians to that of the Medes, and from dependence upon the Medes to a similar position under the Persians.” (RawIinson’s Monarchies, Vol. IV, p. 26, quoted from Diod. Sic., ii 2, §3; 34, §1 and §6.)
The Parthians rose to power around 250 B.C., in the lands along the southern shores of the Caspian Sea. That was the very land into which Israel was exiled! What puzzles historians is that the Parthians were neither Persians, nor Medes, nor Assyrians or any other known people. Even their name breathes mystery — until you understand the Bible.
The word Parthian means EXILE! (See Rawlinson’s The Sixth Monarchy, page 19.) The only exiles in this land were the ten tribes of Israel! The Parthians were none other than the exiled Lost Ten Tribes who remained in the land of their captivity until A.D. 226. That’s when the Persians drove them into Europe.
Now consider this. James addressed his letter to the twelve tribes of Israel scattered abroad. He warns the Israelites against the wars being waged among themselves. When James wrote his letter about A.D. 60, the world was at peace except for two regions — Britain and Parthia! There is no mistaking this. Parthia and Britain were Israelite.
Which of the twelve apostles carried the gospel to the Parthian Israelites?
The Greek historians reveal that Thomas brought the gospel to “Parthia, after which Sophornius and others inform us, that he preached the gospel to the Medes, Persians, Carmans, Hyrcani, Bactrians, and the neighbor nations” (Cave’s Antiq. Apost., p.189).
These strange-sounding names are the lands we know today as Iran (or Persia) and Afghanistan. In apostolic days the whole region was subject to the Parthians.
Though many Israelites had left the region already, multitudes remained behind, spread over adjoining territory. They lost their identity and became identified with the names of the districts in which they lived.
Josephus, the Jewish historian, was familiar with Parthia as a major dwelling place of the Ten Tribes. He declares: “But then the entire body of the people of Israel [the Ten Tribes] REMAINED IN THAT COUNTRY [they did not return to Palestine]; wherefore there are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are beyond Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers” (Antiq. of the Jews, bk. xi, ch. V, §2).
There it is! The very area to which Thomas sojourned was, reports Josephus, filled with uncounted multitudes of the Ten Tribes! Josephus was, apparently, unaware of those who had already migrated westward. But he does make it plain that only the those of Judah ever returned to Palestine. The House of Israel was “beyond Euphrates till now”!
Parthia was defeated by Persia in 226 A.D. Expelled from Parthia, the Ten Tribes and the Medes moved north of the Black Sea, into Scythia. (See R. G. Latham’s The Native Races of the Russian Empire, page 216.) From there, around A.D. 256, the Ten Tribes migrated with their brethren from Asia Minor into Northwest Europe. This migration was occasioned by a concerted Roman attack in the east. It backfired on the Romans, for hordes of Israelites and Assyrians suddenly broke through the Roman defenses in the West that same year!
Thomas also journeyed into Northwest India, east of Persia, where the “White Indians” dwelt. These “White Indians” — that is, whites living in India — were also known as Nephthalite Huns, in later Greek records. Any connection with the tribe of Naphthali [or Naphtali, Genesis 35:25]? They were overthrown in the sixth century and migrated into Scandinavia. The archaeology of Scandinavia confirms this event.
Bartholomew shared, with Thomas, the same vast plains, according to Nicephorus. Bartholomew also spent part of his time in neighboring Armenia and a portion of Upper Phrygia in Asia Minor. Nicephorus termed the area, in his history, the “Western and Northern parts of Asia,” by which he meant Upper Asia Minor, modern Turkey today. This was the same district to which Andrew carried the gospel, and to which Peter sent two of his letters.
Jude, also named Libbaeus Thaddaeus, had part in the ministry in Assyria and Mesopotamia. That is part of Parthia which Josephus designated as still inhabited by the Ten Tribes. The Parthian kingdom, which was composed of the Ten Tribes ruling over Gentiles, possessed Assyria and Mesopotamia during most of the New Testament period. From the famous city Babylon, in Mesopotamia, Peter directed the work of all the apostles in the East.
Scythia and Upper Asia (meaning Asia Minor) were the regions assigned to Philip. (See Cave’s Antiq. Apost., p. 168.) Scythia was the name of the vast plain north of the Black and the Caspian Seas. To this region a great colony of Israelites migrated after the fall of the Persian Empire in 331. From Scythia migrated the Scots. The word Scot is derived from the word Scyth. It means an inhabitant of Scythia. The Scots are part of the House of Israel.
Interestingly, the word Scythia, in Celtic, has the same meaning that Hebrew does in the Semitic language — a migrant or wanderer!
Where Did Matthew Go?
Matthew [Levi], Metaphrastes tells us, “went first into Parthia, and having successfully planted Christianity in those parts, thence traveled to Aethiopia, that is, the Asiatic Aethiopia, lying near India.”
For some centuries this region of the Hindu Kush, bordering on Scythia and Parthia, was known as “White India.”
It lies slightly east of the area where the Assyrians settled the Israelite captives. A natural process of growth led the House of Israel to these sparsely populated regions. From there they migrated to Northwest Europe in the sixth century, long after the Apostles’ time. Dorotheus declares Matthew was buried at Hierapolis in Parthia.
The Parthian kingdom was, in fact, a loose union of those lost tribes of Israel who dwelt in Central Asia during this period. The Persians finally drove them all out. Whenever Parthia prospered, other nations prospered. Whenever the Parthians suffered reverses, other nations suffered. Remember the Scripture: “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee” (Genesis 12:3).
Ethiopic and Greek sources designate Dacia (modern Romania) and Macedonia, north of Greece, as part of the ministry of Matthias. Dacia was the extreme western part of Scythia. From Dacia came the Normans who ultimately settled in France and Britain.
The French tradition that Mary, the mother of Jesus, journeyed into Gaul (modern France) lends heavy weight to John’s having been in Gaul in his earlier years. It was to John that Jesus committed Mary’s care. She would be where he was working. Paul knew Gaul to be an area settled by the House of Israel. He bypassed Gaul on his way from Italy to Spain (Romans 15:24, 28). Gaul must have been reached by one of the twelve.
How plain! How can any misunderstand! Here is historic proof to confirm, absolutely, the identity and location of “the House of Israel.” The identity of Israel, from secular sources, is itself also independent and absolute proof of where the twelve apostles carried out God’s work.
How marvelous are the mysteries of God when we understand them!