sermon: Where Did The Original Apostles Go?
God Has Not Cast Away His People
Martin G. Collins
Given 17-Nov-18; 72 minutes
The stories of the twelve apostles are certainly well worth studying to gain valuable insight into the challenges of their conversion, the struggles of overcoming sin, and the sacrificial efforts they made to make known to the world God's plan of salvation for mankind.
It is simply impossible for us to study their lives without gaining something by them and without catching from them something of that zeal and devotion and sacrificial love, which engraves their names on the foundations of the New Jerusalem and sets them on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. In Matthew 10, we are going to read versus 2 through 4 to see who these individuals are:
Matthew 10:2-4 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.
Although Mathias was chosen by lot by the other apostles to replace Judas Iscariot, God later showed that Saul of Tarsus renamed Paul was who He really wanted to be that twelfth individual that carries forth His message.
As important as the lives of the apostles are to us as spiritual examples and teachers, why is the book of Acts strangely silent about the original apostles after their departure from the land of Judea? Where did the twelve apostles go after Luke's account in Acts? I gave some of this as a Bible study over seven years ago, and I have updated it and also added to it to make a sermon out of it. Some of you have may have heard it; but most of you have not.
We can read of the apostle Paul's travels through Cyprus, Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy; but the movements of the original apostles are a mystery. Why is that? We know that most of the New Testament following the book of Acts was written by Paul, not by Peter. But why, after Peter initiated the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles at the house of Cornelius, which we read about in Acts 10:11, did he and the other apostles suddenly vanish? Why do only Peter and John reappear for a passing moment in Jerusalem at the ministerial conference, recorded an Acts 15? We read after Acts 15 only of Paul's ministry to the Gentiles. Why? What happened to the apostles?
There is a reason why the journeys of the apostles have been cloaked in mystery. Most people believe that Jesus chose the twelve disciples, ordained them apostles, and sent them first to preach to the Jews, and then the Jews as a nation rejected that message. Most people wrongly supposed that the apostles then turned to the Gentiles. It was the apostle Paul called years later as a special apostle who was commissioned to bear the gospel to the Gentiles. And Luke tells us an Acts 9:15 that Christ gave this assurance to Ananias who was sent to baptize Paul and he told him,
Acts 9:15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.”
That is an important scripture that I will mention later. That was Paul, not any of the original Twelve, who said in Acts 18:6, “From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” 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 as well. So to whom and where were the twelve apostles sent? We find the answer, continuing in Matthew 10.
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 Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Jesus commanded them not to go to the Gentiles. They were not to spread the gospel to them, but they were to go to the lost Ten Tribes of Israel. The Gentiles granted access in Acts 10 and 11, which records that Christ did send Peter to the home of Cornelius, as I mentioned, to open that gospel. Peter's life mission was to carry the gospel to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. As the chief apostle, Peter merely opened the door 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. That was not to bring the gospel to them. Peter and John merely prayed for the Samaritans that they would receive the Holy Spirit as Acts 8:5, 14-17 tells us. We know that the twelve apostles were not sent to the Gentiles, but to the lost sheep of Israel and it was Paul who went to the Gentiles.
Where then did Peter and the other apostles go after they left the land of Judea? God made that one of the best kept secrets of history. If the world had known the lands to which the apostles journeyed, the House of Israel would never have been lost from view, but for a good reason, God wanted it lost from view. God intended for a special purpose that the identity of the House of Israel would not be revealed until just recently.
Let us take some time to identify the House of Israel. Here is a brief summary: From the sons of Jacob, surnamed Israel, sprang twelve tribes under David. They were united as one nation—Israel. After the death of Solomon, David’s son, the twelve tribes were divided into two nations.
The tribe of Judah split off from the nation of Israel in order to retain the king whom Israel had rejected, and Benjamin went with Judah. Those two tribes were together, Benjamin and Judah.
The new nation, formed with its capitol of Jerusalem, was known as the House of Judah. Its people were called Jews. The Northern Ten Tribes, who rejected Solomon’s son, became known as the House of Israel and their capitol later was Samaria. Whole books of the Old Testament are devoted to the power struggles between Israel and Judah, showing them as two separate nations.
The Northern Ten Tribes of the House of Israel were overthrown and lead into captivity in 721 BC, by the powerful 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. We see them being transplanted near the Caspian Sea.
The House of Israel never returned to the area of Palestine. The nation became known in history as the Lost Ten Tribes. It was to them that Jesus sent the twelve apostles. The House of Judah, the Jews, remained in Palestine until the Babylonian invasion under King Nebuchadnezzar; more than one hundred years later, after the captivity of the House of Israel. Judah was deported to Mesopotamia. Seventy years later, after the rise of Babylon to a position of world power, the Jews in 518 BC, returned to the original land of Israel. In history they now have become commonly known as Israel because they are the only descendants of Jacob, or Israel, now living in Israel.
The ten tribes, the House of Israel, became lost in the land of their exile. Let us see what the New Testament reveals.
John 1:11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
The House of Judah, the Jews, and His own did not receive Him. Jesus was the lineage of David of the House of Judah. Now, 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,
Matthew 15:24 “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Jesus was soon going to be slain on Golgotha to pay for the sins of the world. He commissioned His original twelve apostles to fulfill that divine mission later, and they were commanded to go to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. They did go, but history has lost sight of where they went. That is because nothing was recorded after the book of Acts.
The history of the early New Testament Church is preserved in the book of Acts. Have you ever noticed that Acts ends in the middle of the story? Luke does not even finish the life of Paul after his two years of imprisonment. Why is that?
Turn to Acts 28 and we find the answer and 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. Then second, he was to appear before kings, an event brought about by a two year imprisonment at Rome. This is what and where we coincide with and end with my last sermon, Facing Times of Stress When God is Silent, Part 4. However, this is not a continuation of that sermon series, it just very nicely picks up and coincides with that.
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 that this point that Luke strangely breaks off the story of Paul's life. We pick that up in
Acts 28:30-31 Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.
Paul's third mission was not yet accomplished. Christ chose Paul for a three-fold purpose. As you remember, I mentioned earlier Acts 9.
Acts 9:13-15 Then Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he [Saul later called Paul] has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name." But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.”
He was to bear His name to 1) Gentiles, 2) kings, and 3) the children of Israel. There he was in Rome and preached to the kings. After those two years of imprisonment, Paul was ready to fulfill that third commission, the answer in verse 15. 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, and it was not then God's time to make that known.
Turnover to James 1. It was not to be known where the original twelve apostles went until the time of the end, that is our time today. To whom is this book James addressed?
James 1:1 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.
This book is not addressed to the Gentiles. It is not addressed exclusively to Judah and the Jews. It is addressed to all twelve tribes of the House of Judah and the House of Israel, the lost ten tribes. Have you ever noticed that the letter James, like the book of Acts, ends abruptly without normal salutations? If you turn over a page or so to James 5 and we will see how it ends abruptly.
James 5:19-20 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
Compare this with Paul's epistles in the original inspired Greek New Testament. Every one of Paul's letters ends with an Amen. This little word “Amen” of Hebrew derivation signifies completion. It is one way of saying “I am finished.” Most modern versions are incorrect in how they translate the ending. In several instances, they leave off the proper ending found in the official printed Greek text. In the New King James Version every one of the New Testament books ends with an “Amen,” except three: Acts, James, and III John. This is significant. Only of these three is the word “Amen” not in the inspired original Greek, and it is purposely missing. Why is that? Each missing “Amen” is a specific or special sign.
It indicates God wants us to understand that certain knowledge was not to be made known to the world until the time of the end. 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 would 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, and Paul often ends his letter with the names of places and people; this is missing from James.
Turn with me to III John, the other book that does not have an Amen. I am going to read verses 9 and 10. It is missing an “Amen,” because God did not permit John to make it 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 Christian Christianity acceptable to the major majority of the Roman Empire was under way at that time.
III John 9-10 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.
This reminds us of the old Worldwide Church and how people were not allowed to believe what they had been used to and they were even put out of the church at times.
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 also described in Revelation 17, Acts 8, and many other chapters of the Bible, but return for a moment to the letter of James. We learned that wars were being waged among the lost tribes of Israel.
James 4:1 Where do wars and fights come from among you?
What wars were these? Yes, they were spiritual wars among the brethren, but they were also fear of physical wars. Those physical wars are what identify for us locations of Israel.
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 identified the lost House of Israel with the lands to which the apostles journeyed. James wrote his book about AD 60. He was martyred two years later, according to Titus Flavius Josephus, the Roman Jewish historian, and the world was temporarily at peace, cowed by the fear of Roman military might. Prior to AD 60, only two areas of the world were torn by wars and civil fighting—only two in the history of the world. Those two lands were the British Isles and the Parthian Empire. Parthia was in the area of northeastern Iran, but these were not the only lands to which the exiled House of Israel journeyed. To whom did Simon Peter address his letters?
I Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.
These were not Gentiles. Peter was not the apostle to the Gentiles, Paul was, as Galatians 2:8 reveals. Peter was chief apostle to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.
Notice the word pilgrims. It does not mean Gentiles. The original Greek is parepidēmos. It means a resident foreigner, literally an alien alongside. It is translated “strangers” in the King James Version of the Bible, “elect exiles” in the ESV, and “pilgrims” in the New King James Version, referring to a lost sheep of the House of Israel. It does not refer to Gentiles, but to non-Gentiles who dwelt among Gentiles as foreigners and aliens.
Peter was addressing part of the Lost Ten 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, elect exiles, or pilgrims because he was himself a Jew.
Turn over to Romans 15. Now notice the regions to which Peter addressed his first letter. They are all located in the northern half of Asia Minor, which is roughly the area of modern Turkey. Today these lands lay immediately west of the Parthian Empire. Paul did not preach in these districts. He spent his years in Asia Minor in the southern half, which was Greek.
Romans 15:20-21 And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation, but as it is written: “To whom He was not announced, they shall see; and those who have not heard shall understand.”
Paul did not preach in the areas where Peter and others of the original apostles had carried the gospel. Nowhere in the New Testament can you find Paul preaching in Pontus, Cappadocia, and Bithynia. These regions were under the jurisdiction of Peter and certain of the other apostles.
Now turn over to Acts 16. Paul did not spread the gospel in the province of Asia, but only in the southern half. In the districts around Ephesus, he was expressly forbidden to preach in Mysia, the northern district of the Roman province of Asia.
Acts 16:7-8 After they [Paul, Timothy, and Silas] had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.
God's hand is seen there directing the way in the area that they were to go.
I Peter 1:1 lists 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 as Acts 14 records, but nowhere in the New Testament do we find Paul journeying into northern Galatia, the area to which Peter address his letter to the tribes of Israel.
We will go to the Old Testament. If you will turn to II Kings 17, notice the historical 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, we are living in Northern Asia Minor in New Testament times.
And here is the surprising account of Diodorus of Sicily, in Book 2, page 34.
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 Pathlagonia and Pontus, and the other was drawn from Media and planted along the Tanais, which is the river Don in ancient Scythia, the modern Ukraine north of the Black Sea in southern Russia.
Notice the areas from which these colonies came. Assyria in Media, the very areas to which the House of Israel was taken captive.
II Kings 17:6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, 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.
Jump down to verse 22.
II Kings 17:22-23 For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they did not depart from them, until the LORD removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day.
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 and we find them still there in New Testament times. The apostle Peter addresses his letter, known as I Peter, to these people, the lost sheep of the House of Israel, the strangers, the elect, exiles, the pilgrims. We will see later when and where these lost sheep migrated from Asia Minor to northwestern Europe.
Now let us unveil church history and see where each of the original twelve apostles preached. What happened to them after they departed from the land of Judea?
To find where the original apostles went, we must find out where the lost Ten Tribes were. We have already started to do that, but they are in other places as well. Remember, by early New Testament times, remnants of the House of Israel had settled in the British Isles and the Parthian Empire, and some had migrated toward northern Asia Minor. If multitudes of Greeks in southern Asia Minor were being converted to Christ by Paul, and at the same time multitudes among the lost Ten Tribes of the House of Israel were being converted in northern Asia Minor, would not those Greeks have left the record of which of the twelve apostles carried the gospel there? Well, yes, they did. The Greeks did record it.
Consider this also, the Greeks have not lost the Greek New Testament. They have handed it down from generation to generation. Greek scholars have preserved the true account of the ministry of Jesus Christ’s apostles, the original apostles. The trouble is almost no one has believed it because Satan has made sure that he has blocked that. Ultimately it has been God who has kept the identity of Israel quiet from the world.
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 the 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 apostle's 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 this information from original documents that apparently are no longer in existence. They had firsthand sources of information not now available to the scholarly world.
So what do those Greek historians report? Our one valuable source of information is the Greek and Latin Ecclesiastecae Historia of Nicephorus Callistus, another in English is Antiquitates Apostolicae, by William Cave.
Turn with me to Acts 12. Let us start seeing where these apostles went. Universal Greek tradition declares that the apostles did not leave the Syro-Palestinian region until the end of twelve years of ministry. The number twelve symbolizes a new organized beginning. Before those twelve years were up, one of the apostles was already dead, James, the son of Zebedee and the brother of John, beheaded by Herod. We read that account here.
Acts 12:1-2 Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
We find very little of this James' life. The biblical mention of him has been described as a silhouette rather than a photograph because it is so vague. He and John were raised by the righteous parents, Zebedee and Salome. James has always been cited among the first three apostles mentioned. It was James and his brother John who when they graduated as apostles Christ surnamed them James and John Boanerges, from Mark 3:17. It means the sons of Thunder, which you are more familiar with. Christ named them the son of sons of Thunder.
Scholars seem to differ as to its meaning. Some say they had a passionate eloquence. Others say that they were men with forceful voices. We gather that James had a passionate vibrating in his voice and a glowing on his face, or an obvious enthusiasm, and he carried it to whomever he took the gospel with gusto, so to speak. The gospels may only give James’ name, but his name lives forever engraved on one of the twelve pillars of the Eternal City. He is one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb mentioned in Revelation 21:14. He was no less an apostle than the other apostles, although his life was short-lived.
Where did the remaining apostles go? Well, let us begin with Simon Peter. Simon was surnamed Peter or Bar-Jonah, meaning, son of Jonah or Jonas. Christ made Peter the chief among the twelve apostles to coordinate their work. Of necessity Peter would not be found traveling to many more regions than he would personally be ministering to. The question is, where did Peter spend most of his time after those twelve years in the Holy Land? According to Caves’ Antiquitates Apostolicae, Page 45, Metaphraster, the Greek historian reports “That Peter was not only in these Western parts, that is the western Mediterranean, but particularly that he was a long time, and here we have Peter's main life work to the lost ten tribes in Britain, where he converted many nations to the faith.”
Please turn over to Acts 28. Peter preached the gospel to the British Isles, and Paul preached in Rome and the true gospel had not been publicly preached in Rome before Paul arrived in AD 60. Paul never mentions Peter in his epistle to the brethren in Rome, most of who had been converted for decades. 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, which we had covered in my last sermon. I would like to a cover it once again just to include the account.
Acts 28:16-23 Now, when we came to Rome [This is Luke speaking, when he and Paul came to Rome], the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him. And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: "Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans, who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death. But when the Jews spoke against it, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything of which to accuse my nation. For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain." Then they said to him [that is, the Jews at Rome], "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.
Apparently, those Romans had not been introduced to the gospel. They had only heard rumors of this strange sect.
Now back to Peter. Simon, 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. Remember, Peter was commissioned to go to the lost tribes, not to the Gentiles in Rome or anywhere else, and significantly, about AD 60 great wars overtook Britain just as James warned the tribes of Israel in James 4:1.
Where were Peter and Paul buried since the Catholic Church claims it was in Rome? For centuries, the mainstream Christian world has taken for granted that Peter and Paul were buried in Rome. However, even the Catholic Encyclopedia admits that they have little information about the apostles and their travels after a certain point.
They also admit that they have little information about the one hundred years of the church's early history and of the late first and early second centuries AD. They did not know or have information about it because they did not want anybody to know about it and which was the true church. Granted, Paul was brought back to Rome in AD 67. He was beheaded in the spring of AD 68, then buried on the Ostian Way, but are his remains still there? Universal tradition declared that 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 and some factual, confirmed that both Simon Magus, the false apostle who masqueraded as Peter, and Simon Peter himself died in Rome. Were the bones of the apostles Peter and Paul moved from Rome?
Here is what happened. In the year AD 656. Pope Vitalian decided the Catholic Church should send the remains of the apostles Peter and Paul to King Oswy, the seventh century English monarch. Sounds strange, why would he do that? Here is part of his letter to the British king recorded in Beads Ecclesiastical History Book 3, Chapter 29.
However, when 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 Laurentis, John, Paul, Gregory and Pancratius to be delivered to the bearers of these are letters to be by them delivered to you.
That is absolutely amazing. It is amazing what you can find in obscure history. 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 some of the lost tribes of Israel. Why would Pope Vitalian send the remains to Britain? That is the location they were stolen from originally according to the written work of Life of Saint Germanus. About a century and a half earlier, in the early 5th century, Constantius of Lyons took the relics of all the apostles and martyrs from Gaul, part of the area of France today, and buried them in a special tomb in St Albans in Britain. It was from there that the Catholic Church had stolen them, taken them back to Rome, then through this king, they were returned to Britain. They were returned and buried there. No one knows where exactly.
What about Andrew, Peter's brother? Britain after AD 449, was settled by hundreds of thousands of new people not there in Peter's day, and history shows them as Anglos and Saxons. They came originally from the shores of the Black Sea to the Cymbric Peninsula, which today is Denmark, and some continued on to Britain. These were the people to whose ancestors Peter wrote his epistles. Which one of the twelve apostles who preached to their ancestors while they lived by the Bosporus Sea and on the Black Sea? Listen to the answer from Greek historians.
In this division, St Andrew Head, Scythia, and the neighboring countries primarily allotted to him for his province. First then he traveled through Cappadocia that is Upper Galatia and Bithynia, and instructed them in faith of Christ, passing along the Euxine Sea, that is the old Greek name for the Black Sea and so into this solitude of Scythia.
An early Greek author records these journeys in detail, just as Luke had written an account of the other apostles as he did of Paul. Remember the details that there were in Luke's account of the apostle Paul's trips all the way to Rome? According to page 137 through 138 of Cave’s Antiquitates Apostolicae, this is about Andrew.
Went next to Trapezus, a maritime city on the Euxine, or Black Sea, whence is 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. When sailing through the Propontis, he came by the Euxine or Black 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 Anynsus and then he proposed to return to Jerusalem. [Remember, the headquarters city was located there until AD 69.] Whence after some time he betook himself to the country of Abasgi, that is a land in the Caucuses between the Black and the Caspian Seas. 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 and Chersonesus, a great and populous city within the Bosphorous. [This Bosphorous is the modern Crimea on the Black Sea. That is what this is talking about.] He continued sometime instructing and confirming them in the faith. Hence taking ship, he sailed across the sea to Sinope, situated in Paphlagonia.
Here we find Andrew preaching to the very areas of Asia Minor which Paul bypassed. From this region and from Scythia, north of the Black Sea, the ancestors of the Scots and the Anglo-Saxons migrated as we have already seen and they are part of the House of Israel. The word Scot is derived from the word Scyth, which means an inhabitant of Scythia.
It is interesting that the word Scythia in Celtic has the same meaning that Hebrew does in Semitic, a migrant or wanderer. There is the modern Scottish tradition that Andrew preached to their ancestors, to this day he is considered the patron saint of Scotland. According to their website, the official Gateway to Scotland, “Traditionally Scot's also claim that they were descended from the Scythians who lived on the shores of the Black Sea in what is now Romania and Bulgaria and were converted by Saint Andrew.” That knowledge is still there in Scotland to this day.
Philip was a Jew with a Gentile name and was born in Bethsaida of Galilee, a city that rejected the truth, which Christ Himself declared to them. Faithful witnesses for Christ sometimes come from unlikely places, like the saints of Sardis, who escaped the evil of that city in which they lived. Philip, Andrew, and Peter did as well, because Andrew and Peter were also from Bethsaida. These three friends strengthened, encouraged each other despite the wickedness of their hometown.
Young Philip went to the older Andrew when difficulties arose for him. Andrew was probably like an older brother to Philip. It makes sense that Phillip would continue ministering in the same general area of Scythia as Andrew as time went on. According to Caves Antiquitates Apostolicae, page 168, “Scythia and Upper Asia [meaning Asia Minor] were regions also assigned to Philip. Scythia was the name of the vast plain north of the Black and Caspian Seas, to this region a great colony of Israelites migrated after the fall of the Persian Empire in 331 BC.”
We are going to move on to Simon the Zealot. Where did Simon the Zealot, also known as Simon Zelotes, carry the gospel? From the Greek records is the root of his journey, this is 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 be numb, his zeal or hinder him from shipping himself and the Christian doctrine over the Western islands. Yea, even the Britain itself. Here he preached and wrought many miracles.
On page 203 of Antiquitates Apostolicae, Nicephorus and Dorotheus, both wrote, “That he went at last into Britain and was crucified and buried there.”
It is interesting that we find here that another of the twelve apostles is found preaching to the lost tribes of Israel in Britain and the West.
What is Simon Zelotes doing in North Africa? It is a very interesting story as there were remains of the House of Israel living there as well. Some had fled westward in 721 BC at the time of the Syrian conquest. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, in his Book XI, sections 8 and 10, he says,
The Saxons went unto Gormund King of the Africans, in Ireland where in adventuring further with a vast fleet he had conquered the folk of the country thereupon by the treachery of the Saxons. He sailed across with one hundred sixty thousand Africans into Britain and lay waste. As has been said, well nigh the whole island with his countless thousands of Africans.
Is that not strange? These countless thousands were not Berbers or Arabs. They were not black Africans. They were whites who came to Ireland from North Africa and Mauritania, where Simon preached. The Universal History 1748, Volume xviii, page 194 declares 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 by their enemy, the Assyrians. For almost three centuries after the time of Simon the Zealot, they remained in Mauritania. But they are not in North Africa today. They arrived in Britain shortly after AD 449, the time of the Anglo Saxon invasion, and by this time the Roman Empire had almost entirely collapsed.
Moving on to another of the apostles sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel was James, the son of Alphaeus. Remember, the other one was James, the son of Zebedee, who died early on. This is the son of Alphaeus, who was the one who left Palestine after the first twelve years of his ministry. The deeds of this apostle are sometimes mistakenly assigned to James, John's brother. That James had already been martyred by Herod as we saw in Acts 12:1-2.
Where did James the son of Alphaeus preach? According to page 148 of Antiquitates Apostolicae, “The Spanish writers generally contend after the death of Stephen, he that is James, son of Alphaeus came to these Western parts and particularly into Spain. Some add Britain and Ireland where he planted Christianity.”
Notice that this was another apostle who went to the lost sheep of the House of Israel and ends in the British Isles and Ireland, as well as in Britain. Even in Spain, James spent some time. Why Spain? Was not Spain Gentile? From ancient times, Spain was the high road of migration, from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the British Isles. The ancient road, 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 to carry on the royal line of Judah.
Now turn with me if you will, please to Romans 15. I know it is a lot to absorb, but it is not critical to absorb everything, just to understand that God was taking good care of His people, the Israelites, and did not let them go into oblivion.
For added proof of the apostle’s mission to the House of Israel in the British Isles, from an old volume published in 1674 by William Camden, we read in the book Remains of Britain, page 5, “The true Christian Religion was planted here most anciently by Joseph of Arimathea, Simon Zelotes, Aristobulus, by Saint Peter and Saint Paul As many as may be proved by Dorotheus, Theodoretus and Sophronius.” Paul was included and it seems that Paul had planned to go from Italy into Spain and then Britain.
Romans 15:24-25 Whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while. But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints.
Romans 15:28 Therefore, when I have performed this and have sealed to them this fruit, I shall go by way of you to Spain.
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 in Book 1, on Psalm 116, page 870 “That Saint Paul brought salvation to the isles that lie in the ocean.” That was the British Isles, they were well known at that time in history as the Isles.
It is interesting that there were more isles than just the isles that are there now, because in recent history the British drained the western part of England, with canals to reclaim the land. There were a lot of islands in that area that do not exist today, it is now farmland and that type of thing. It is around the area of Glastonbury which was thought to be believed in British tradition that Christ actually visited there with Joseph of Arimathea, His great uncle, and spent some time there during those silent years. His great uncle owned either copper or tin mines there. Christ would have had the opportunity to travel various areas of the world, which you would certainly expect Christ would have had a full education.
That was not merely to preach to the Gentiles, Paul was to spend some time in Spain on his way to Britain. Remember that the third and last part of Paul's commission after he revealed Christ to the kings and rulers at the Rome was to bear the name of Jesus to the children of Israel, the lost ten tribes.
Acts 9:15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.”
Now this is not a prophecy concerning the Jews whom Paul previously reached in the Greek world of the eastern Mediterranean. This is a prophecy of Paul's mission all the way to the British Isles. James referred to the descendants of Israel as scattered abroad, and we have found them in with northwestern Europe and in North Africa, from where they migrated into Ireland and Britain in the 5th century and in northern Asia Minor associated with the Assyrians. Then in AD 256, they migrated from the regions of the Black Sea to Denmark and then some of them into the British Isles in AD 449.
Let us take a step back in history. Remnants of the lost Ten Tribes were yet in another vast region beyond the confines of the Roman Empire, and that region was known as the Kingdom of Parthia. The Parthians appear near the Caspian Sea around 700 BC as slaves of the Assyrians is recorded in the Sixth Great Oriental Monarchy, page 26, “According to Diodorus, who probably followed Ctesias, they, (that is the Israelites) 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 Parthians rose to power around 250 BC in 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 AD 226, when the Persians defeated the Parthians.
Consider this from earlier in this sermon in James 1:1. James addressed his letter to the twelve tribes of Israel scattered abroad, and he warns the Israelites scattered abroad against the wars, not just spiritual wars but also physical wars being waged among them. When James wrote his letter about AD 60, the world was at peace except for two regions, Britain and Parthia, as I mentioned earlier. There is no mistaking this. Parthia and Britain were lands where the Israelites lived, and by the time of the apostles, the Parthian Empire had become quite large.
Which of the twelve apostles carried the gospel to the Israelites in Parthia? The Greek historians in Antiquitates Apostolicae, page189, reveal that Thomas brought the gospel to, “Parthia. Afterwards, Sophronius, and others inform us that he, Thomas, preached the gospel to the Medes, Persians, Carmans, Hyrcani, Bactrians and the neighboring nations.”
Remember, Thomas was sent to the lost tribes of Israel. Therefore, the lost tribes of Israel were located in some of these areas, among the Medes and Persians, and on and on. These lands are known 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 and though certain Israelites had left the region already, multitudes remained behind, spreading over adjoining territory. They lost their identity and became identified with the names of the districts in which they lived.
The first century AD historian, Titus Flavius Josephus, was familiar with Parthia as a major dwelling place of the ten tribes. In Antiquities of the Jews, Book 11, Chapter 5, Josephus wrote and is very famous for, he declares. “Then the entire body of the people of Israel [the ten tribes who he is referring to] remained in that country.” That means they did not return to Palestine. Continuing on with the quote, “Wherefore there are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are beyond the Euphrates till now and are an immense multitude and not to be estimated by numbers.”
In the first century even the Roman historian, Josephus, knew where many of the lost Ten Tribes of Israel were. The area to which Thomas sojourned was reported by Josephus to be filled with uncounted multitudes of the Ten Tribes. Josephus was apparently unaware of those who had already migrated westward because he does not mention them. He does make it plain that only the House of Judah ever returned to Palestine and the House of Israel was beyond the Euphrates until now.
Parthia was defeated by Persia in AD 226, expelled from Parthia, the Ten Tribes and the Medes moved north to the Black Sea into Scythia. This is confirmed by R G Latham’s, The Native Races of the Russian Empire, page 216. From there, around AD 256, the Ten Tribes migrated from Asia Minor into northwestern Europe. Thomas also journeyed into northwest India, east of Persia, where the white Indians dwelt. These have since, like the Frisians earlier in 330 BC, migrated from India far to the northwest. These white Indians were known and suspected to be some of the lost Israelites. They were great in number because that is where they had fled after their captivity.
The Nathanael John mentions in John 1:45-51 and 21:2, is the same Bartholomew spoken of in the list of the apostles in Acts and the other three gospels. Nathanael Bartholomew was the personification of sincerity and devotion and it says in Scripture “in him was no guile.” Bartholomew shared with Thomas the same vast plains according to Nicephorus, the AD 8th century Greek patriarch. Bartholomew also spent part of his time in neighboring 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.
The next apostle, Lebbaeus, was also called Jude. He was the only one that had three names recorded. Lebbaeus Thaddeus, also called Jude, had part in the ministry in Syria and Mesopotamia, and those are 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, the best of that land and Mesopotamia during most of the New Testament period.
Matthew was called Levi. Where did Matthew go? According to Antiquitates Apostolicae, page 182, Metaphrastes tells us that “Matthew went first to Parthia, and having successfully planted Christianity in those parts thence traveled into Aethiopia.” This is not Ethiopia, this is the Asiatic Aethiopia lying near India. He was one of the ones who preached to the white Indians.
For centuries, this region of the Hindu Kush, bordering on Scythia and Parthia was known as White India, and 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 the sparsely populated regions. From there, they migrated through northwestern Europe in the 6th B C. Dorotheus declares that Matthew was buried at Hieropolis in Parthia.
Ethiopic and Greek sources designate Dacia (modern Romania) and Macedonia, northern Greece, as part of the ministry of Mathias. Dacia was the extreme western part of Scythia. From Dacia came the Normans, who settled in Scandinavia, France, and Britain.
Finally, what do we know about John? All these others that we have been through, were all martyred. John was the only one who was not. The French tradition that Mary, the mother of Jesus, journeyed to Gaul, which is now the general region of modern France and resided there for a time, lends weight to John's having been in Gaul in his earlier years. It was John to whom Jesus committed Mary's care.
John 19:27 "Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
At times he was a hunted man, so he probably was not always able to personally care for Mary, sometimes he would have to relinquish her personal care to someone else. It is quite reasonable to expect that John turned to Mary's uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, who would have had the means and necessary protection to care for Mary on a daily basis earlier in Mary's life. There are several early documents which bear this out, and one reads, “St John, while evangelizing Ephesus made Joseph “Paranymphos” [means to be the guardian].”
There is strong evidence that Mary lived in Britain for a time, and Uncle Joseph owned tin or copper mines there. At least some of the time, Mary would have been where John spent part of his time working and that would be in Gaul and areas settled by the House of Israel.
Turn with me to Revelation 1. Much later, about 90 years of age, John was seized and banished to the Isle of Patmos. We see that here in
Revelation 1:9 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
So John lived a long time and died close to 100 years of age. Some of the early disciples of John have left it on record that on his release from Patmos, he returned to Ephesus, where he fell asleep and died.
It makes sense that John would have carried out a substantial witness in Gaul, which is now France and northcentral and northwestern Europe. Since it is a definite location of a part of the House of Israel, and because there is no record of any of the other apostles having gone there, it is very likely that John covered that area very thoroughly.
That is the historical evidence to confirm the identity and location of the House of Israel and where the twelve apostles went.
From this we receive great encouragement and comfort, seeing and knowing that God has been consistently working to accomplish His very detailed plan of salvation, not only for His church but also for the whole world, beginning with House of Israel and with the Gentiles that were preached to by those seeds that were planted all those almost two millennia ago. The Israelites maintained not all of the truth, but they maintained enough of the truth that God was able to bless the descendants of Abraham with the incredible blessings that we see today. These nations are becoming blurred more and more as immigration is used as a tool to overcome these nations that house the House of Israel and also eventually, too, many will be taken into captivity. Many will die, as we read in Scripture, and a remnant will be taken to a place of safety.
Amos 9:9 “For surely I will command, and will sift the house of Israel among all nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve; yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground.”
God guaranteed way back there to the House of Israel that He would not forget them. He would always know where they were. He shows that by where He sent the apostles and then to this day in revealing to us where they are. God saw to it that the foundation was laid through Jesus Christ and the apostles, the church, the spiritual house of Israel, Paul says in
Ephesians 2:19-20 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.
With Paul, we ask, and I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. This is a guarantee that He gave to the physical house of Israel and it is a guarantee that He also gives to the spiritual house of Israel, which is his church.
We certainly are appreciative of all that God has done in His intricate workings throughout history to continue to have this gospel of the coming Kingdom of God and the plan of salvation for mankind to have survived all this time in this obscurity of the world history that is mostly read by humanity.