What happened to the northern Ten Tribes of Israel?
The most popular theory is British-Israelism which claims the ten tribes went north from Assyria and became the Scythians who became the Germanic Tribes who migrated into western Europe, particularly the British Isles.
Ever since the Assyrians exiled the Lost Tribes of Israel in the eighth century B.C., the mystery of what happened to the ten tribes has deepened inexorably with time. Where did they go? Are the claims by contemporary groups who say they are descended from the Lost Tribes legitimate? Here, we present an abbreviated history of the Lost Tribes and modern-day claims of descent.
Certainly not all Israelites returned to their homeland. It is estimated that only about 6% of the world’s population of Jews lived in Israel in 1948. No doubt most remained in foreign countries and spread out as opportunities or persecution arose.
But there are also biblical references to Israelites who merged with the southern nation of Judah to 1) escape civil turmoil and religious heresy, 2) escape Assyrian captivity, and 2) return after the Babylonian Exile.
Based on the references provided in the following passage, we can deduce that at the time Hezekiah opened his kingdom to God-fearing Israelites, some of their loved ones had already gone into captivity under Tiglathpilezer king of Assyria, and calculate that it was only a year or so before Shalmenezer king of Assyria beseiged the nation of Israel preparatory to taking the entire nation into captivity.
“Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign….And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did…He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him…And the LORD was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not.”(II Kings 18:1-7)
“And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the Lord God of Israel…they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written. So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see. Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you.
- For if ye turn again unto the LORD
- your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive,
- so that they shall come again into this land:
- for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him.
So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem…
And all the congregation of Judah, with the priests and the Levites, and all the congregation that came out of Israel, and the strangers that came out of the land of Israel, and that dwelt in Judah, rejoiced. So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem.
Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even unto heaven.” (II Chronicles 30)
The preceding account of Israelites who turned to the LORD is just one witness that the LORD did bring Israelites back into the land.
“The LORD said also unto me [Jeremiah] in the days of Josiah the king [i.e. after Israel had gone into Assyrian captivity], Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot…And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also…And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah. Go and proclaim these words toward the north [place of captivity], and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:…In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers…
A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel…
Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God…truly in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel…We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us: for we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.” (Jeremiah 3)
Sound familiar? It should.
“In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans…
I Daniel understood by…Jeremiah the prophet…And I set my face unto the LORD God, to seek by prayer and supplications…And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said…We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments…
O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee…and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him…” (Daniel 9)
Pay attention to the geographical clues provided.
“in the sixth year of Hezekiah, that is in the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken…And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them 1) in Halah and in Habor [a fairly close tributary of the Euphrates River] by the river of Gozan, and [farthest away] 2) in the cities of the Medes:” (II Kings 18:10-12)
The farthest land to which the Israelites were relocated by Assyria is the same land ruled by the Medo-Persians permitting the return of the captives. Isn’t that convenient?
“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth [including those previously ruled by Assyria]…Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem…Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go…Now these are the children of the province that went up out of the captivity… Israel in their cities.”(Ezra 2:1-5, 70)
It is significant that the post-exile prophets refer to the inhabitants of the land of Judah as “Israel”.
“In the…second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah…say thou unto them…thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it…Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem. Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns…. These are the horns [powers] which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. And the LORD shewed me four carpenters…but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles…” (Zechariah 1)
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes?…Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country…And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong.” (Zechariah 8)
“And my God put into mine heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of them which came up at the first, and found written therein, These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity…Who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah. The number, I say, of the men of the people of Israel was this;” (Nehemiah 7:5-7)
Zerubbabel / Zorobabel, the Governor of the province of Judah within the Medo-Persian Empire and heir to the throne of David, is a well-documented example of the Son of God functioning as the proper, righteous, priest-king, i.e. Melchizedek, when he re-established YHWH’s worship at Jerusalem.
“In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah…This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you.” (Zechariah 1:1, 4:6-9)
“Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God.” (Ezra 3:2)
“Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them. And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the Lord their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the Lord their God. Then stood up upon the stairs, of the Levites, Jeshua, and Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani, and cried with a loud voice…Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee. Thou art the LORD the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham; And foundest his heart faithful before thee, and madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it, I say, to his seed, and hast performed thy words; for thou art righteous:” (Nehemiah 9)
As detailed in the post Father Abraham, the seed of Abraham / Father of Many Nations are all those who put their trust in YHVH’s Savior for salvation from death and faith in everlasting life. There were other nationalities besides the genetic descendants of Jacob / Israel.
Don’t miss the masses of international converts to YHVH prior to the proclamation allowing return to the land of Israel, as well as the elimination of many of their enemies allowing an unobstructed return.
“And many of the people of the land [international empire of Persia] became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them….The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people. And all the rulers of the provinces, and the lieutenants, and the deputies, and officers of the king, helped the Jews; because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them. For Mordecai was great in the king’s house, and his fame went out throughout all the provinces: for this man Mordecai waxed greater and greater…For Mordecai the Jew [like Joseph the Hebrew] was next unto king Ahasuerus [Pharoah, handling all affairs of state in his place], and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.” (Esther 8-10)
“The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi...And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.” (Malachi 1)
The eastern border of Israel is the Euphrates, beyond which is Ancient Assyria, i.e. Persia in Malachi’s day.
Don’t miss the context of Zerubbabel’s reported activities. He is engaged in a battle against God’s enemies.
“Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel; Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither. But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us. Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building.” (Ezra 4:1-4)
And the worst enemies are the ones who are supposed to have your back, but instead stab it.
“Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.” (Ezra 9:1-2)
Jesus Christ himself faced this challenge.
“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost…was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil… the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it; If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Luke 4:5-8)
“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon / wealth, who will commit to your trust the true riches?…No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.” (Luke 16:10-14)
As do all his followers to this day. That’s a clue as to which leaders are really followers of YHVH’s Anointed Savior.
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world… But ye have despised the poor…where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy…From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?…Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you.” (Letter from James)
Significantly, James, the brother of Jesus Christ and the head of the Jewish sect of followers of YHVH’s Messiah at Jerusalem, addresed his letter “to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.”
“My brethren, count it all joy when YE [too] fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
What is he talking about that would be specific to the Israelite twelve tribes?
He, like his half-brother and Melchizedekian High Priest Jesus Christ, drew all his wisdom from existing holy scriptures.
“Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book…We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace…wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble
BUT! he shall be saved out of it…For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee…
- I will correct thee in measure,
- and will not leave thee altogether unpunished…
because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee…
Not to destroy but to discipline; not to disconnect forever but to drive home the wayward child.
- their congregation shall be established before me…
- And their nobles shall be of themselves,
- and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them;
The process of re-storation? Re-penting / re-thinking, re-turning, re-lating.
- and I will cause him to draw near, [by allowing the Adversary to leave him no other choice for salvation]
- and he shall approach unto me…
- And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
At the same time…will I be the God of all the families / nations of Israel, and they shall be my people…Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
Lovingkindness expressed by terrible tribulation, like the Nazi Holocaust? Yes. Physical suffering is limited by mortality. Hellfire is not.
The sequence of chapters in the book of the Acts of the Apostles corresponds to the chronology of events and explains what is ignored by secessionists.
Acts 1: ye disciples shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me
- both in Jerusalem: beginning Acts 1
- and in all Judaea: beginning Acts 5
- and in Samaria with people who have the scriptures but don’t have leadership to follow them fully: beginning Acts 8 with the Samaritans who Jesus himself taught, the Ethiopian eunuch proselyte who traveled a long distance to Jerusalem to worship, and a Roman centurion who had no scripture / law but was a righteous man whose conscience drew him to God. I would count him among the Hebrews scattered throughout the world who join the assembly of believers once it is made known to them.
- and unto the uttermost part of the earth: beginning Acts 10 with uncircumcised Gentiles categorized as Hebrews then completely pagan Gentiles.
Acts 2: the day of Pente-cost, fifty days after Passover when YHVH’s Savior had been crucified, the disciples were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven [there to participate in the Jewish feast required of practicing Jews as much as Passover, according to Levitical law.]
the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language, wherein we were born? Jews and proselytes, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
- the dwellers in Mesopotamia
- Libya about Cyrene
- strangers of Rome
Acts 3: Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.
Acts 4: And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Being grieved that they taught the people [of Israel], and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold [because they had religious authority over this Jewish sect]…Howbeit many of them which heard the word [Israelites] believed….And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ / leadership feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
Acts 5: And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch)…And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women…There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.
Acts 6: And in those days [before any Gentiles had been converted] when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians [by language and sect of Jews] against the Hebrews…Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:
Acts 7: Then said the high priest, Are these things so?…Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven…And said, [quoting Daniel’s prophecy of the destruction of the fourth empire, Rome, with whom the high priest was allied] Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.
Acts 8: And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles…they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them….and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship [despite restrictions on entering the temple. Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet [unquestionably identifying with “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief…he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:” moving on the to promise in the very next section “Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear;” and “Neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name / attribute, success better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name / eternal life, that shall not be cut off.” Remember, in pagan cultures like Egypt and Ethiopia, after death, the only relief of eternal torment of the soul was provided by heirs’ offerings.} Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized / joined into the existing assembly of believers. And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God…and he baptized him
As a eunuch joining the assembly of believing Jews this was one small step for Jews, one giant leap for mankind.
Acts 9: And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision…enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus…Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
Acts 10: There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion…A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision…an angel of God coming in to him, and saying…Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God…Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which /because it was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized / included into the body of believers, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
Acts 11: And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them…But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying…God gave them the like gift [of the Holy Spirit] as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
Acts 12: Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. And some…men of Cyprus and Cyrene…when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians.
In context, these contrast with “Jews only” so must not be Jews but Gentiles. This conclusion is supported by bring in Saul, known to be anointed by God through Ananias to minister to the Gentiles
And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord… Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul…he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
Acts 13: the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them…the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”