LOST TRIBES OF ISRAEL NOT LOST
Source: The Plain Truth magazine, May 1964, by Herman L. Hoeh: Where did the twelve apostles go?
When Paul preached the Gospel at Rome, where was Peter? Why is the book of Acts strangely silent about the original 12 apostles after their departure from the land of Judea? Here is one of history's best-kept secrets!
Why has the truth about the journeys of the original 12 apostles been hidden from public knowledge? You read plainly of Paul's travels through Cyprus, Asia Minor, Greece, Italy. But the movements of the original 12 apostles are a mystery. Why? 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 12 apostles suddenly vanished from view? And why only Peter and John reappear, for a fleeting moment, in Jerusalem at the inspired conference recorded in Acts 15? You read, after Acts 15, only of Paul's ministry to the gentiles. Why? What happened to the 12 apostles? Let's understand. There is a reason why the journeys of the 12 apostles have been cloaked in mystery – until now.
Now it can be told
You probably have been told that Jesus chose the 12 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 the apostles 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 : "Go, for he" Saul, later named Paul "is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel" (Acts 9:15). It was Paul, not any of the 12, who said, "From now on I will go to 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 12 had been commissioned to preach to the gentiles. Then to whom – and where were the 12 apostles sent?
Jesus' commission tells
Notice the surprising answer – in Matthew 10:5-6: "These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying, 'Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritan. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.' "
Jesus meant what He said! He "commanded them." The 12 were forbidden to spread the Gospel among the gentiles. It was Paul who was commissioned to that work. The 12 were to go, instead, to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" – the Lost Ten Tribes.
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, for the gentiles. It was Paul who went through the door and brought the Gospel to the nations. Peter and John merely prayed for the Samaritans that they would receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:5, 14-17).
Now we know to whom the 12 apostles were sent. They were not sent to the gentiles, but to "the lost sheep of the House of Israel." It was Paul who went to the gentiles. Now to discover where Peter and others of the 12 went after they left the land of Judea. That has been one of the best kept secrets of history. If the world had known the lands to which the 12 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 20th century.
"House of Israel" identified
From the sons of Jacob – surnamed Israel – sprang 12 tribes. Under David they were united as one nation – Israel. After the death of Solomon, David's son, the 12 tribes were divided into two nations. The tribe of Judah split off from the nation Israel in order to retain the king, whom Israel had rejected. Benjamin went with Judah. The new nation thus formed, with its capital at Jerusalem, was known as the "House of Judah." Its people were called Jews.
The northern 10 tribes, who rejected Solomon's son, became known as the House of Israel. Its capital, later, was Samaria. Whole books of the Old Testament are devoted to the power struggles between Israel and Judah. The first time the word "Jews" appears in the Bible you will discover the king of Israel, allied with Syria, driving the Jews from the Red Sea port of Elath (11 Kings 16:6-7).
The northern 10 tribes, the House of Israel, were overthrown and led into captivity (721 B.C.) by the mighty Assyrian Empire. Its people were led into captivity beyond the Euphrates River and planted in Assyria and the cities of the Medes around Lake Urmia, southwest of the Caspian Sea. The House of Israel never returned to the area. The nation became known in history as the Lost Ten Tribes. To them Jesus sent the 12 apostles!
The House of Judah – the Jewish people – remained in Palestine until the Babylonian invasions under King Nebuchadnezzar more than 100 years later. Judah was deported to Mesopotamia. Seventy years after the rise of Babylon to a position of world power, the Jews in 538 B.C. returned to the original land of Israel. In history they now became commonly known as "Israel" because they were the only descendants of Jacob – or Israel now living in Israel. The 10 tribes – the House of Israel – became lost in the land of their exile.
Jesus "came to His own" the House of Judah, the Jews "and His own did not receive Him" (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 was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 15:24). To fulfil, later, that divine mission – for Jesus was soon slain on Golgotha to pay for the sins of the world. He commissioned His original 12 disciples. They were commanded, "…Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel…" (Matt 10:5-6).
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. Why? 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 Cyprus, Asia Minor and Greece. Second, he was to appear before kings – an event brought about by a two-year imprisonment at Rome. At the end of that two year period, during which no accusers appeared, Paul would automatically have been released according to Roman law. It is at this point that Luke strangely breaks off the story of Paul's life. See Acts 28:31, but Paul's third mission was not yet accomplished. Christ had chosen Paul for a threefold purpose – "to bear [His] name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel" (Acts 9:15). There is the answer. He, too, was to end his work among the Lost Ten Tribes!
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 Israel. 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 original 12 apostles went.
Now turn to the book of James. To whom is the book addressed? Read it: "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: greeting" (James 1:1). You probably never noticed that before. This book is not addressed to the gentiles. It is not addressed exclusively to Judah the Jews. It is addressed to all 12 tribes. To the House of Judah and to the House of Israel – the Lost Ten Tribes. 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 every one' of Paul's letters ends with an "Amen." Every one 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 New King James (most modern versions are incorrect, and in several instances leave off the proper ending found in the official printed Greek text) every one of the New Testament books ends with an "Amen" except three – John. In these three, and these three only, the word "Amen" is not in the inspired original Greek. It is purposely missing Why?
Three missing words
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 whereabouts of Israel and of the true Church would have been revealed. It was part of God's plan that the House of Israel should lose its identity and think itself gentile.
If the book of James had ended with the ordinary salutation, the nations of Israel would have been disclosed. Paul often ends his letters with names of places and people. See the last verses of Romans, Colossians and Hebrews, for example. This is the very part missing, purposely, from James. And why is the short letter of III John missing an "Amen"? God did not permit John to make known, in plain language, the full nature of a conspiracy by which some sought to gain control of local congregations, expel those truly converted and loyal to the apostle John and make Christianity acceptable to the majority of the Roman Empire (see III John 9 and 10). That is why John cut his letter short. The missing "Amen" is to tell us to look elsewhere in the Bible for the answer. The conspiracy is described, if you have eyes to see, in Revelation 17, Acts 8 and many other chapters of the Bible.
But 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 Israel. "Where do wars and fights come from among you?" asks James. 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 apostles journeyed. James wrote his book about A.D. 60 (he was martyred 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 military history for the period immediately before and up to the year A.D. 60. The results will shock you! Those two lands were the British Isles and the Parthian Empire.
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 throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia" (I Peter 1:1, Authorized Version). 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. Peter was addressing part of the lost 10 tribes who dwelt among the gentiles as aliens or strangers. He was not writing primarily to the Jewish people. 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 Turkey. These lands lay immediately west of the Parthian Empire.
Paul did not preach in these districts. Paul spent his years in Asia Minor in the southern, or Greek half. "And so I have made it my aim," said Paul, "to preach the Gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man's foundation" (Romans 15:20). Paul did not preach in the areas where Peter and others of the original 12 apostles had carried the Gospel. Nowhere in your New Testament can you find Paul preaching in Pontus, or Cappadocia, or Bithynia. These regions were under the jurisdiction of Peter and certain of the 12. Paul did spread the Gospel in the province of Asia - but only in the southern half, in the districts around Ephesus. Paul was expressly forbidden to preach in Mysia, the northern district of the Roman province of Asia (Acts 16:7-8). Those were the regions in which the lost sheep of the House of Israel dwelt as strangers among the gentiles!
Paul did preach, on his first journey, in southern Galatia, in the cities of Iconium, Lystra and Derbe (Acts 14), but nowhere in the New Testament do you find Paul journeying into northern Galatia – the area to which Peter addresses his letter to the tribes of Israel.
Remnant of Ten Tribes on shores of Black Sea
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 Asia Minor in early New Testament times. Greek writers, in the time of Christ, recognized that the regions of northern Asia Minor were non-Greek (except for a few Greek trading colonies in the port cities). New peoples, the Greeks tell us, were living in northern Asia Minor in New Testament times. Here is the surprising account of Diodorus of Sicily:
“Many conquered peoples were removed to other homes, and two of these became very great colonies: the one was composed of Assyrians and was removed to the land between Paphlagonia and Pontus, and the other was drawn from Media and planted along the Tanais [the River Don in ancient Scythia - the modern Ukraine, north of the Black Sea, in southern Russia]" (Book 11, #43).
Notice the areas from which these colonies came – Assyria and Media. The very areas to which the House of Israel was taken captive! "So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day" (11 Kings 17:23). “The king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away to Assyria, and placed them in Halah and by the Habor, the River of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes " (verse 6). The House of Israel dwelt in captivity as aliens or strangers among the Assyrians. When the Assyrians were later removed from their homeland toward northern Asia Minor, part of the House of Israel migrated with them. We find them still there in New Testament times.
To these people – the lost sheep of the House of Israel – the strangers (1Peter 1:1) – the apostle Peter addresses his first letter. We shall see later when and where these "lost sheep" migrated from Asia Minor to Northwest Europe.
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 Paul, and at the same time multitudes among the lost 10 tribes of the House of Israel were being converted in northern Asia Minor, should not those Greeks have left the record of which of the 12 apostles carried the Gospel there?
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 Jesus Christ's original 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 tribes of Israel were not, in the apostles' day, where they are today. Scholars have long puzzled over the remarkable information the Greeks have handed down. Greek historians, in the early Middle Ages, 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 Syro-Palestinian region until the end of 12 years' ministry. The number 12 symbolizes a new organized beginning. Before those 12 years were up one of the apostles was already dead – James, the brother of John. He was beheaded by Herod (Acts 12:1-2), but where did the remaining apostles go?
Simon Peter in Britain
Begin with Simon Peter. Peter was made by Christ the chief among the 12 apostles to coordinate their work. Of necessity Peter would be found travelling to many more regions than he would personally be ministering to. The question is, Where did Peter spend most of his time after those first 12 years in the Holy Land? 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 – “in Britain, where he converted many nations to the faith." (See p. 45 in Cave's Antiquitates Apostolicae. )
Peter preached the Gospel in Great Britain. Paul preached in Rome. The true Gospel had not been publicly preached in Rome before Paul arrived in A.D. 60. Paul never mentions Peter in his epistle to the brethren in Rome, most of whom had been converted on Pentecost in A.D. 31. 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 after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together" (Acts 28:17). Continuing, verses 21-23: "And they" – the Jews at Rome – "said to him, 'We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you. But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.' So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening."
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 evidence 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 the 12 tribes of Israel (James 4:1). Could history be any clearer?
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 in A.D. 67. He was beheaded in the end of spring A.D. 68, 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, Were the bones of the apostles Peter and Paul moved from Rome? Yes! Here is what happened. In the year 656 Pope Vitalian decided the Catholic church should send 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, book 111, chapter 29). Could anything be more astounding? The bones of Peter and Paul (termed "relics" in the Pope's letter) were sent by the Pope from Rome to Britain – to the land of the lost tribes 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).
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 to the Cymbric Peninsula (Denmark) opposite Britain. These were the people to whose ancestors Peter wrote his epistles. Which one of the 12 apostles preached to their ancestors while they abode by the Bosporus and on the Black Sea? Listen to the answer from Greek historians:
“In this division St. Andrew had Scythia, and the neighbouring countries primarily allotted him for his province. First then he travelled 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 solitudes 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 upon 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 purposed to return to Jerusalem" the headquarters church.
"Whence after some time he betook himself ... to the country of the 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 Bosphorus [this ,Bosphorus is the modern Crimea], he continued some time, instructing 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 areas in Asia Minor which Paul by-passed. 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, thence 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 shipping himself and the Christian doctrine over to the western islands, yea, even to Britain it self. 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" (Antiquitates Apostolicae, p. 203).
Think of it. Another of the 12 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 living there, too? Had some fled westward in 721 B.C. at the time of the Assyrian conquest? Here is Geoffrey of Monmouth's answer:
“The Saxons ... went unto Gormund, 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" (book xi, sections 8, 10).
These countless thousands were not Berbers or Arabs. They were whites who came to Ireland from North Africa and Mauritania, where Simon preached. These, 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 Asia? The House of Israel! Their 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, the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasion.
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 12 apostles were named James. James, son of Alphaeus, was the one who left Palestine after the first 12 years. The deeds of this apostle are sometimes mistakenly assigned to James, John's brother, but that James had already been martyred by Herod (Acts 12:1-2).
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" (Antiquitates Apostolicae, p. 148). 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. 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 one of 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 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, p. 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 shall go by way of you to Spain" (Romans 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 previously had reached in the Greek world of the eastern Mediterranean. This is a prophecy of Paul's mission all the way 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 Ireland and Britain in the fifth century. And in northern Asia Minor, associated with the Assyrians. In A.D. 256 they migrated from the regions of the Black Sea to Denmark, thence into the British Isles in 449. But remnants of the Lost Ten Tribes were yet in another vast region beyond the confines of the Roman Empire. That region was known as the Kingdom of Parthia.
The Parthians 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" (The Sixth Great Oriental Monarchy, p. 26, quoted from Diodorus Siculus, 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 land into which a major part of Israel was exiled! Some of the Lost Ten Tribes remained in the land of their captivity until A.D. 226, when the Persians defeated the Parthians.
Now consider this: James addressed his letter to the 12 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 lands where the Israelites lived.
Which of the original 12 apostles carried the Gospel to the Israelites in Parthia? The Greek historians reveal that Thomas brought the Gospel to “Parthia, after which Sophronius and others inform us, that he preached the gospel to the Medes, Persians, Carmans, Hyrcani, Bactrians, and the neighbour nations" (Antiquitates Apostolicae, p. 189). These lands we know today as Iran (or Persia) and Afghanistan as far as western India. In apostolic days a major part of this region was subject to the Parthians.
Though certain 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" (Antiquities of the Jews, book xi, chapter 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 House of Judah ever returned to Palestine. The House of Israel was "beyond Euphrates till now."
Parthia was defeated by Persia in A.D. 226. 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, p. 216.) From there, around A.D. 256, the Ten Tribes migrated with their brethren from Asia Minor into Northwest Europe. Thomas also journeyed into northwest India, east of Persia, where the "White Indians" dwelt, who have since, like the Frisians earlier in 330 B.C., migrated from India far to the northwest.
Bartholomew shared, with Thomas, the same vast plains, according to Nicephorus. Bartholomew also spent part of his time in neighbouring Armenia and a portion of Upper Phrygia in Asia Minor. This was the same district to which Andrew carried the Gospel, and to which Peter sent two of his letters.
Judea, also named Lebbaeus 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 included remnants of the Ten Tribes, possessed Assyria and Mesopotamia during most of the New Testament period.
Scythia and Upper Asia (meaning Asia Minor) were the regions assigned to Philip (see Cave's Antiquitates Apostolicae, 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 Semitic – a “migrant" or “wanderer."
Where did Matthew go?
Matthew, Metaphrastes tells us, “went first into Parthia, and having successfully planted Christianity in those parts, thence travelled into Aethiopia, that is, the Asiatic Aethiopia, lying near to India" (Antiquitates Apostolicae, p. 182). 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 prophecy reveals they migrated to northwest Europe in the sixth century. Dorotheus declares Matthew was buried at Hierapolis in Parthia.
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 settled in Scandinavia, France and Britain.
The French tradition that Mary, the mother of Jesus, journeyed into Gaul (modern France) lends 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 by-passed Gaul on his way from Italy to Spain (Romans 15:24, 28).
Here is historic evidence to confirm the identity and location of “the House of Israel.”