Judah; Israel and Samaria! 

 

When the writers first heard of the "Ten Lost Tribes of Israel", it had little impact or meaning.  Since that time (1960s) the term has been mentioned infrequently, which only served to increase the perplexity, due to the physical appearance of the people who were making the comments.

One such meeting in Australia in the 1970s, was with a Mormon, who declared himself a Christian, but later understanding showed the origin of such comment as that of Joseph Smith of America and his "tablets" of "later Biblical revelation in America".  The person who made the comments seemed of Nordic extract due to appearance and stature.

Another such encounter was with an English resident in Yorkshire, of Scottish extract with red hair, who was born in New Zealand, and claimed "lost tribe" entity, and practiced Jewish custom.  He was a well-qualified medical doctor of considerable intellect.

Again recently a comment was made by a Conference delegate, that in his opinion, at the splitting of the Tribes of Israel after Solomon's death, the "Southern Kingdom" of Judah and Benjamin was not made Lo-Ammi at Acts 28:28, whereas the "Northern Kingdom" of the 10 Tribes was!  This was justified because of Jesus' comments to His listeners stating that "He came only to the lost sheep of Israel" (Matt. 10:6, 15:24 and 18:11).  The questioner was implying that the term "Israel" applied to the 10 Tribes of the Northern Kingdom only, and not to Judah and Benjamin.

At the time of the split, approx. 990-930 BC, (dating varies) and for approx. 200 years afterwards, the Northern Kingdom was known as Israel (Samaria), and the Southern based on Jerusalem, as Judah (2 Chron. 15:9).  In between the start and the finish, and prior to the Assyrian takeover of Samaria and their dispersion, the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon joined the Kingdom of Judah during the reign of Asa of Judah; so that the original 10 tribes of the North was reduced to 7; working on the assumption that all the people of these Tribes made the journey back to Judah, which is doubted!  This fact alone reduces the credibility of the many "Lost Tribes" ideas.

There have been many investigations into the concept of the Lost Tribes; one notable investigator is Tudor Parfitt, who is recognised as possibly the world's leading expert on the subject, and who has produced many documentary presentations for academia and the media.  A comment he has made is copied below from Wikipedia: 

Tudor Parfitt has declared that "the Lost Tribes are indeed nothing but a myth", and writes that, "...this myth is a vital feature of colonial discourse throughout the long period of European overseas empires, from the beginning of the fifteenth century, until the later half of the twentieth".[2]

The full Wikipedia article follows:

The ten lost tribes refers to the ten of the twelve tribes of ancient Israel that were deported from the Kingdom of Israel after it was conquered by Assyria in about 722 BCE.[1]Claims of descent from the lost tribes have been proposed in relation to many groups, and some religions espouse a millenarian view that the tribes will return.

Tudor Parfitt has declared that "the Lost Tribes are indeed nothing but a myth", and writes that, "...this myth is a vital feature of colonial discourse throughout the long period of European overseas empires, from the beginning of the fifteenth century, until the later half of the twentieth".[2]

The motif of "the lost tribes" first appeared in the post-biblical era, and was subsequently elaborated upon in a number of apocryphal texts. The return of the lost tribes was eventually tied to the notion of the coming of the messiah in the 7th and 8th centuries CE. [3]

The recorded history is at variance with the legends elaborated in apocryphal texts. For example, no record exists of the Assyrians having exiled people from DanAsherIssacharZebulun or western Manasseh. Descriptions of the deportation of people from  ReubenGadManasseh in GileadEphraim and Naphtali indicate that only a portion of these tribes were deported and the places to which they were deported are known locations given in the accounts. The deported communities are mentioned as still existing at the time of the composition of the books of Kings and Chronicles, and not wholly assimilated into the Assyrian populace.[4]

DNA studies have found no evidence of the existence of any lost tribes. DNA studies have refuted any connection between ethnic Jews and most all of the ethnic groups discussed below, with the exception of the Lemba, for whom a Y-chromosome connection has been confirmed, but no maternal DNA. 

A surprising number of peoples claim decent from the Jews including the following:

Mormons, Nestorians, Afghans, Falashas of Ethiopia, American Indians, Japanese, Berbers, Igbo's of Nigeria, the Lemba of Yemen and Southern Africa; to name a few!

A particularly erroneous group call themselves “The Christian Identity Movement” (CI), formerly called “British or Anglo Israelism”.  Some of these groups are anti-Semitic, and claim that white Anglo-Saxons constitute the Israel of God, and that ethnic Jews are the children of Satan!  All these sects make a distinction between Israel, and the Jews.  They base their beliefs on

1) the ten lost tribes theory, or

2) the serpent seed theory. 

(See full article R. Alan Streett, in the HCSB Study Bible). 

Scripture references dispute these ideas; (Ezr. 3:1; 6:16-17; Luke 1:54, 67,68,80; 2:36; John 3:1,10; Acts 2:14,22,36; 5:21 & 13:24; which indicate that Israel returned to its homeland. 

By the time of the "restoration of Israel and Judah", at the close of the 70 years prophesied in Jer. 25:11-12, and prayed for by Daniel; under Ezra and Nehemiah, the returning Jews from Babylon were made up of the 5 tribes shown above, and were collectively known as Israel.  Ezra only managed to persuade approx. 40,000 out of approx. 500,000 Jews to return with him to Jerusalem from Babylon, and that is confirmed by the letters that Peter wrote, and see John 7:35, and James 1:1; many years later.  However, Nehemiah, who held high office with King Cyrus the Great of Persia, was granted further mandate to reinforce Ezra's work, and did so with great force.  This was necessary due to the resistance of the Samaritans (which included some Israelites) and other of the local people surrounding Jerusalem. The Samaritans were part Kin to The Jews, and the result of "assimilation" in Assyria and environs when taken into captivity approx. 100 years earlier.

It is worth here reminding ourselves of the origin of the term "Israel".  In Gen. 32:28, Jacob had "striven" with a "Man" (v24 & v28) "And He said, thy name shall be called no more Jacob (meaning contender), but Israel (God commands, orders or rules): for as a prince (commander, orderer) hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed".

Israel had 12 sons, and for a long time the group were referred to as "the children of Israel", eventually shortened to "Israel".  At the splitting of the Kingdom at Solomon's death the term "Israel" stayed with the 10 Northern tribes, and the Southern initially 2 tribes as mentioned earlier, were called Judah; the terms remained especially during the time of bitter feeling between the two groups.

As also mentioned above at the restoration in Jerusalem under Ezra and Nehemiah, the old term for all the tribes returned, and remained there-after, which is probably a confusing and divisive use of the term "Israel"; as it is probable that the Northern Kingdom of Samaria (Israel), has never been re-assimilated into the correct meaning of "Israel", as applied by Jehovah to Jacob (i.e. the twelve Tribes, his sons).

With this clarity in mind, the comments of Jesus mentioned above mean that they applied/apply to all Israel, including part kin, as evidenced by the encounter of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well; and her affirmation of Jacob as her/their forebear (John 4:12)!  In v14 Jesus confirms that the "living water" was from Him, and was "everlasting life"!  Had anything she said been wrong, Jesus would have contested it, but instead invited her husband also!  The remarkable revelation from Jesus then hints at what was to come later, (v23); and did so at Acts 28:28; which expanded the possibility to the whole world, that He was showing in vs. 23-24. That condition is still de-facto, for any person to take the gift of Christ Jesus into their heart!

Returning to the case of Israel; there are promises from Jehovah God to His people the Jews which must be fulfilled, as God always keeps His Word!  The Promises/Covenants, were initially between Abram and God, but were renewed and reinforced in the following generations of Abraham's line; and are crucial to the world in the future, as Israel are eventually destined to be a "Kingdom of Priests" unto God and the world (Ex. 19:6 and Rev. 1:6).

The traumas that the Jews have experienced in their exiles from their land into Assyria and Babylon; and especially since AD70, are as a direct result of their constant rebellion, idolatry and turning away from their Jehovah; with whom they were in Covenant relationship regarding their faithfulness and behaviour, which Covenant they constantly broke.  The details of this agreement are in Deuteronomy, together with the consequences of their failure.

They have played out their special relationship with Jehovah at present; and in Acts 28:28, they were made Lo-Ammi (set aside), as per Hosea 1:9; and that as a direct consequence of their final rejection of Christ Jesus, see: The Kingdom Age:         

Hosea 1:6 shows the detail of God's action, and the "ellipsis" supplies the unspoken, God takes away the Kingdom from them!  (Israel here is the whole Nation, whole and part of Israel's (Jacob’s) seed, and not just the Northern Kingdom).

Hosea 1:7 however gives the beautiful prophecy of their Messiah; as Judah was to be the source of the birth of Jesus the Christ (Gen. 49:10).  It has to be remembered that the promise of Messiah was to the Tribes of Israel only, and Who was also to be the ultimate "Lawgiver", Who would bring strict control and unity to all Israel's seed.  That the same Messiah would also be later "the Saviour of the World", was unknown, and its understanding did not materialise until after Acts 28:28 in its full meaning under the ministrations of the great Apostle Paul: See: Apostle Paul:  and  Apostle Paul's Accusers.   

That birth of Jesus and His Messiahship, although at present rejected by Israel and Judah, fulfils the prophecy of Gen. 3:15, and the Gentile Nations blessings both now and in the future through Abraham's seed; together with the eventual gathering of all Israel's seed from all over the world into The Promised Land, and Messiah's Rule from Jerusalem (Ezek. 11:16-20 and 37:1-28)!

This eventual ingathering of Israel’s seed; many people having no idea that they are partly Jewish; is probably hinted at by Jesus in His comments in Matt. 10:5-6.  Although Jesus uses the term "Israel", He was following the ‘norm’ of the day, but in His greater knowledge in "Alpha Omega".  He knew the great "gathering" of the complete 12 tribes, was a future event as per. the Ezekiel prophecies of the previous paragraph.

The Ezekiel comments are particularly revealing re. the complete unification of Israel's children (the Tribes and the Kin).  That these events are of the beginning of the "Kingdom" period (the Millennial) is made clear by 37:26, as the "everlasting Covenant" is for the first time established, (Ezek. 34:25-26, Isa. 44:7, 55:3 and 61:8, and many more).  The detail and promise of the unification are shown in Ezek. 37:15-25; the "sticks" of vs. 16-20 should be translated "scrolls", and would include names and peoples.  The fact of assimilation of the many of Israel's sons into the world populations (called Gentiles and Nations in Scripture) is without doubt.  Only Jehovah God knows who and where!  In these verses is remarkable unification of all these peoples into those of Ezek. 37:26-28!  These events are of course linked to those of Dan. 12:2-3 and Ezek. 37:1-14, and which is just prior.  The whole of Ezek. 37 can be taken as sequential.

We have seen the confusion that mixing terms can have on the understanding of the Word of God.  The context nearly always gives the meaning and application; and the example here on the name of "Israel" demonstrates that point.  This is a very good example of the principle that Miles Coverdale expounded, and which is quoted in our opening page ofwww.revelationsmessage.co.uk

 

SUMMARY

In the opinion of the writers, the physical and the spiritual elements of the name "Israel" are shown throughout the Bible, and the physical is depicted in the constant failure in the Bible, of the Nation to honour its word to Jehovah regarding its fidelity to Him, as frequently repeated and broken; and ran from top to bottom; from kings to individual!  The result was the fragmentation of the Kingdom after Solomon’s death; the departure of the "Shekinah" and the worsening from then on of the intended identity of "Israel".

The most intact was/ is that of Judah, even after the Babylonian exile; but since AD 70 and the "Dispersion" world-wide; only a very few have some knowledge of their Tribe of origin.

When returning to "first principle" regarding "Israel", we are reminded of its origin in Gen. 35:10, when God changed Jacob’s name to "Israel", and is a reference to Gen. 32:24-30.

The name "Israel" means GOD RULES, and has specific and special meaning for the Jewish Nation, and the people of the world’s Nations.

The time is coming (probably in the near future at this date November 2015) when The God of all Creation will Rule the World directly via His Anointed One Christ Jesus Messiah.

Before that Rule begins from Jerusalem, He will save a "remnant" of His people The Jews; who will be under persecution on Earth.  It is clearly stated in Ezek. 37 that He will raise many Jews who have died in the past; and will bring together the 12 Tribes of Israel for the first time since Solomon.  The comments in Ezek. 37:15-22 show them re-joined together by Almighty God, and in v.22 the statement, "they shall no more be two Nations".

At that point in time the true meaning of the word "Israel" GOD RULES will be de-facto on Earth, as well as in Israel!

This period of time is known to Christians as the Millennial; and to Jews as "God’s Kingdom on Earth", which Jesus spoke of often when He was talking to the Jews.

 

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