The cover article in this month’s National Geographic magazine is entitled “The Journey of the Apostles,” and it examines the subject of where the 12 Apostles went as they spread the new faith of Christianity after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is an interesting article and I recommend it to readers of this blog (see link below).
The article details some of the legends about where the Apostles went and it details the legends of how all of them met horrific deaths of martyrdom except for the Apostle John. It discusses a greater list of apostles than the original Twelve mentioned in the Bible, and it curiously includes Mary Magdalene in the list of original apostles. The destinations of the Twelve Apostles is a topic covered in some detail in my books, The “Lost” Ten Tribes of Israel…Found! and Parthia–The Forgotten Ancient Superpower.
The National Geographic article on pp. 50-51 identifies Andrew as journeying to Greece and Ukraine, Thomas as evangelizing in India, Thaddeus and Simon as going to Persia and Bartholomew’s destination as Turkey, India or Armenia. A bit of explanation is in order to place them accurately in the ancient world. When the article mentions “Persia,” this must be understood to mean “Parthia” in the ancient world into which the Twelve Apostles were sent by Jesus Christ. Parthia was, literally, an ancient Superpower which was the equal of Rome and its great rival—although peaceful relations between the two marked the time in which Jesus Christ and the Apostles lived. Parthia was an empire of some of the ten tribes of Israel which had grown great and ruled over the nations which had previously taken the Israelites as captives (Assyria, Babylon and Persia). In doing so, Parthia fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 14:2 that the exiled Israelites would eventually rule over their oppressor nations. Parthia was the source of the Wise Men or Magi who visited the young Christ-child in Matthew 2. It was because of their high-ranking Parthian status (and the army that escorted them) that King Herod received them with great deference and why the entire city of Jerusalem was frightened at their arrival (Matthew 2:1-8). The National Geographic’s account of Thaddeus converting and healing the King of Edessa (a vassal king of Parthia’s empire) is discussed in my aforementioned books and is based on a account by Eusebius, one of the early church historians.
When the National Geographic mentions the Ukraine, it designates the ancient region known as Scythia, where many of the ten tribes lived for many centuries and its mention of Armenia designates the Caucasus region through which many of the ten tribes voluntarily traveled on their way to the Black Sea region to escape the Assyrian captivity (a journey detailed in the apocryphal book of II Esdras). Armenia was not only a region then inhabited by Israelites living in the Caucuses, but it was the gateway to the entire Black Sea region of the Scythians (who were later called “Goths” by the Romans). Indeed, my books identify several apostles as journeying through Armenia on their way to Scythian/Gothic regions by the Black Sea and in modern Ukraine and southern Russia. The National Geographic article identifies Thomas as evangelizing India, a conclusion with which I heartily agree. Parts of India were then ruled by Indo-Parthian or Saka kingdoms (the latter term preserved the name of Isaac, which was prophesied in Genesis 21:12 to follow the descendants of the tribes of Israel).
Except for a few apostles whose locations are mentioned in the Bible after the death of Jesus Christ, most quickly disappear from biblical mention and we are left to rely on historical legends of various nations outside the Greco-Roman world to locate where they went. I believe the historical legends are largely accurate as they have the apostles going to ancient nations and regions which my books identify as being inhabited by dispersed tribes of the exiled ten tribes of Israel (exactly to whom Jesus said in Matthew 10:6 he would send them). The locations of the ten tribes were rather well-known in Jesus’ and the apostles’ time. The Jewish historian, Josephus, names the western border of one of their Asian empires (Parthia) in his works and the book of James was addressed to them (James 1:1). Peter states he wrote his book of I Peter from Babylon (I Peter 5:13), and I believe he literally meant the ancient Mesopotamian city of Babylon, which was part of the vast Parthian Empire ruled by the resurgent ten tribes of Israel. Mesopotamia had devout followers of God living in it (Acts 2:9) so it is logical that apostles would have been sent to Parthia and its Mesopotamian domains.
Kudos to National Geographic for doing an article on this subject although I don’t agree with all the conclusions in their article. To read my historical documentation regarding the destinations of the twelve apostles, you can find them in my aforementioned books (both available via my website’s homepage).