ISRAEL: Ten lost tribes theory  


Israel: The Lost Tribes theory
Also see excellent article by Charles Haiff

The theory states that the Northern kingdom of Israel (also known as Ephraim) that contained ten of the tribes of Israel, excluding Judah, Benjamin and half the tribe of Manasseh became "lost" to history as a result of the Assyrian captivity of 722 BCE. The theory further states that these people were scattered throughout the world and have no tribal identification with the current nation of Israel.
It is true that most Jews today are unable to trace their lineage back to these tribes but the Bible indicates that they were all absorbed into the Southern Kingdom of Judah both prior to and during its own captivity to Babylon which occurred from 605 to 536 BCE.
Thus, when the Jews were set free from the Babylonian captivity by Cyrus of Persia in 536 BCE,
ALL the tribes returned back to the geographical area of the Southern Kingdom.
And although all the Jews have been scattered throughout the world both by the "BC" captivities, and also by the Roman dispersal of 70 AD, there is no basis for thinking the "ten tribes" are a special group of people who populated various areas and are to be considered any different than any other person of Israeli descent. Anyone who possesses the genes of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are of Israel and are designated as Jew because of the unification of the tribes that occurred during the "BC" captivities.

1. Judah and Israel are together in Babylon during the captivity.
    Jeremaih 50:33 with 51:5
Jer. 50:33, Thus says the LORD of hosts, The sons of Israel are oppressed, And the sons of Judah as well; And all who took them captive have held them fast, They have refused to let them go.

Jer. 51:5, For neither Israel nor Judah has been forsaken By his God, the LORD of hosts, Although their land is full of guilt Before the Holy One of Israel.

    A. Revivals brought house of Judah and house of Israel together
        and many of the house of Israel stayed in the land of Judah, thus
        all tribes are represented in the land of Judah.
        1. The Hezekiah revival:  2 Chron. 30:1, 5 cf. 31:6
        (Rehoboam:  2 Chron. 11:16-17; Asa, 15:8-9

        2. The Josiah revival:  2 Chron. 35:17-18 w/ 34:5-7, 33.

    B. King of Assyria captured the Northern kingdom and scattered them             throughout the Assyrian kingdom. The king of Babylon captured
        Assyria and took possession of that land area.
        1. King of Babylon captured the southern kingdom (Judah) and brought them into
            the realm of the Babylonian kingdom which now embraced the same
            land area of the former Assyrian kingdom.
        2. Thus, all the tribes were united in captivity and would return
            united. Jer. 50:4
“In those days and at that time,” declares the LORD, “the sons of Israel will come, {both} they and the sons of Judah as well; they will go along weeping as they go, and it will be the LORD their God they will seek.
        3. Jeremiah 50:33, “The sons of Israel are oppressed, and the sons of Judah as well.
             And all who took them captive have held them fast. They have refused to let them go.

It is the “nation” of the North that was destroyed, not the people. The tribes are all accounted for within the nation of Judah.
Mal. 3:6, “Therefore you SONS OF JACOB are not consumed.”

2. Daniel’s prayer in chapter 9. (prophet during the Babylonian captivity)
    v. 5, we have sinned.
    v. 6, all the people of the land
    v. 7, Jerusalem, Judah and all Israel.
    v. 11, indeed, all Israel sinned.
            so the curse is poured out on us.
    v. 20, My sin (Daniel) and the sin of my people, Israel.
    v. 24, 70 weeks for YOUR people

3. Returning from captivity:
    A. Concerning Israel/Ephraim: Hosea 11:11
“They will come trembling like birds from Egypt, And like doves from the land of Assyria; And I will settle them in their houses, declares the LORD.”
    B. 1 Chron. 9:2-3,
“Now the first who lived in their possessions in their cities {were} Israel, the priests, the Levites and the temple servants.
And some of the sons of Judah, of the sons of Benjamin, and of the sons of Ephraim and Manasseh lived in Jerusalem.”

    C. Ezra
        2:1, people of Israel
        2:28, Bethel and Ai (Northern kingdom cities)
        2:70, All Israel in their cities.
        3:1, Now, no designation of Southern Kingdom and no king.
        6:16-22, the feast of unleavened bread - sons of Israel.
        7:6-7, 13; Sons of the people of Israel

4. Post-captivity status = one nation
    A. Zech. 8:9-13
    B. Malachi 1:1; 2:11 (3:4-6 = all 12 tribes).

5. No lost tribes at the first advent of Messiah
    A. Jesus was sent to the “house of Israel.”
Matt. 10:6  but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Matt. 15:24  But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

They are called “lost” because they are spiritually dead, not “lost” in some other part of the world. The house of Israel includes ALL 12 TRIBES.
They do not need to be individually mentioned.

    B. Acts 26:7, “{the promise} to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve {God} night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews.”
Seems like Paul is not aware of any LOST TRIBES.
In fact THEY (all 12) right now, as Paul is speaking - -

    C. Luke 2:36, “And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.”
Hey - here is one of the “lost tribes” - so that means there are only NINE MISSING.
They do NOT all need to be mentioned.

    D. James 1:1, “James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus
        Christ, to the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad, greetings.”

    E. Hosea 5:14-15; This passage refers to the first advent of the Messiah. When He comes, He will judge both Ephraim and Judah and then return to His place with the Father.

This is a first advent context. When the Messiah comes to the earth and presents himself to Israel - that nation of Israel (the lost sheep of the house of Israel) includes BOTH EPHRAIM AND JUDAH.
Ie, the tribes historically associated with Judah
and the tribes historically associated with Ephraim.

6. The theory claims that  Jew and Israelite refer to two different groups of people. The Jews are the people of Judah and the Israelites are the lost tribes. But the two terms are interchangeable.
    A. Jew = 174 times in NT
    B. Israelite = 75 times in NT
    C. Examples:
        1. Acts 21:39; 22:3, Paul calls himself a Jew.
        2. Romans 11:1; 2 Cor. 11:22 - Paul calls himself an Israelite
            and calls Jews, Israelites.
        3. Hope of Israel:  Acts 26:6-7
          cf. Rom. 11:7 cf. 1:16, to the Jew first and then the Gentile.
        4. There are only 3 categories of people: 1 Cor 10:32, Jew, Gentile
            and church of God.
        5. Rom. 9:1-5 = Israelites
        6. Luke 2:36, Anna from the tribe of Asher.

7. All of Israel is present on the earth at the time of the rapture.
    Rev. 7:1-7

8. All Israel (Not every individual, but all that constitutes Israel; ie, the 12 tribes) will be regathered during the Day of the Lord and enter into Messiah’s kingdom.
    A. Isaiah 11:11-16; 14:1-3; Hos. 1:11
    B. Ezek. 34; Jer. 23:7-8; Ezekiel 34; 37:15-27;
        36:8-30, (v. 10, “all the house of Israel, all of it.”);

    C. Jeremiah 3:18, “In those days the house of Judah will walk with the house of Israel, and they will come together from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers as an inheritance.”


Questions and comments are always welcome

Return to BIBLE FRAGRANCES index



©Ron Wallace, Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's consent.


Home | Recent Additions | Studies | Commentary


Prophecy | Articles | Topical | About Us