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Who Are The Lost Tribes?

Many of us in the Church of God cut our teeth on a booklet entitled "Britain and America in Prophesy". In it Herbert W. Armstrong attempted to prove that Britain was the tribe of Ephraim and America was the tribe of Manasseh, along with current prophesies about the destiny of both. Many of you are probably familiar with it.

Over the years my confidence in Mr. Armstrong's book waxed and waned as I heard various other opinions on the subject. But in recent years, interest in this subject is spreading, not only within the Church of God, but also within the evangelical Protestant churches.

Today, I want to revisit this subject by discussing the lost tribes.

The house of Judah, the house of Israel, the promise to Abraham, the rejoining of the two houses are an integral part of this subject and are all described in Ezekiel 37. Let's read it.

(Ezek 37 NKJV) The hand of the LORD came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. {2} Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. {3} And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" So I answered, "O Lord GOD, You know." {4} Again He said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! {5} 'Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: "Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. {6} "I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD."' " {7} So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. {8} Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. {9} Also He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live."' " {10} So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. {11} Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, 'Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!' {12} "Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. {13} "Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. {14} "I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it," says the LORD.'" {15} Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, {16} "As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: 'For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.' Then take another stick and write on it, 'For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.' {17} "Then join them one to another for yourself into one stick, and they will become one in your hand. {18} "And when the children of your people speak to you, saying, 'Will you not show us what you mean by these?'; {19} "say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand."' {20} "And the sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes. {21} "Then say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; {22} "and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. {23} "They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God. {24} "David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. {25} "Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children's children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. {26} "Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. {27} "My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. {28} "The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore."' "

The two house theory, the theory that there are two houses of Israel, one house which constitutes the Jews of today, the other being the lost ten tribes of Israel, is really a fact. Recent writings by Yair Davidi and Eddy Chumway are examples of current interest and investigation into this subject. The WWCG believed this theory for many years. The lost tribes of Israel were a major doctrine. As I said, this belief is now exploding into evangelical Christianity. Some of this theory has been around for over 200 years. It's based on biblical research, historical research, and some speculation. Where are the lost tribes? Where did they go? Why are they lost? These are the questions being increasingly asked today. Let me give you some results of Yair Davidi's studies:

Ephraim Britain
Manasseh North America
Reuben France
Simeon Celts and Jews
Levy With the Jews
Yehuda(Judah) Jutes and Jews
Issachar Swiss and Fins
Zebulon Holland
Gad Sweden ?
Asher Scots
Benjamin Belgium and Normans
Dan Danes and Celts
Naphtali Norwegians

Some of this information has been available since the protestant reformation. Why is it just becoming available again now? God has a time table and it is more relevant now. He does not reveal everything all at once. Why? Because we can not absorb everything all at once. He reveals it a little at a time, especially to the house of Israel. Isa 28.

(Isa 28:1 NKJV) Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, Whose glorious beauty is a fading flower Which is at the head of the verdant valleys, To those who are overcome with wine!
(Verses 7-8) But they also have erred through wine, And through intoxicating drink are out of the way; The priest and the prophet have erred through intoxicating drink, They are swallowed up by wine, They are out of the way through intoxicating drink; They err in vision, they stumble in judgment.{8} For all tables are full of vomit and filth; No place is clean.
(Verses 11-13) For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, {12} To whom He said, "This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest," And, "This is the refreshing"; Yet they would not hear. {13} But the word of the LORD was to them, "Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little," That they might go and fall backward, and be broken And snared and caught.

This is addressed to the house of Israel. They have erred by wine. This is an indictment on the house of Israel, upon Ephraim, because this is not talking about being drunk on wine, but on spiritual things that are not correct. Mixing the pagan with the truth, which was Ephraim's hallmark from the beginning. In the Hebrew, the line about precept upon precept is really gibberish. In other words, to them it was blah, blah, blah, blah. That's the way they heard it. What God was saying was, I'm going to talk to you in a way that you don't understand because you're drunk on intoxicating spiritual things. This message was to the house of Israel. We will see how God has revealed to Ephraim who he is and what his destiny is. Why does the Lord (i.e., HaShem) make it so difficult to learn truth? So that we have to keep our noses in the scripture. If it was all that simple, we could just read it and go on our merry way and forget who we owe our existence to, who our creator is, who our savior is. Because its difficult, we have to keep studying, we have to keep learning. This is why He reveals some now and some later. I don't think we have all the truth yet about the lost tribes, the rejoining of the two sticks. We've taken a giant leap forward in the last few years but we're not there yet. We are probably not going to know it all until Messiah comes. If we keep studying we will have it put together for us. Prov 25:2

(Prov 25:2 NKJV) It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.

What are you? You are an apprentice king and priest. It is your glory, a human glory, to search out a truth that He has hidden. Part of what we are doing today is to search out these matters.

Today we want to accomplish three things. We want to see how the house of Israel lost her identity, how that identity has been revealed over time, and the dark side of the two-house teaching

For every truth that God has, the adversary has a counterfeit. There is a counterfeit out there to the two house theory. If you log onto the Internet and look for "the lost tribes", you're going to find a whole bunch of stuff you don't agree with, that's absolutely wrong.

First of all, let's look at how the house of Israel became lost. We have to assume that we have a fundamental knowledge about the children of Israel, about the calling of Isaac and Jacob, about the slavery in Egypt, the exodus, the forty years of wandering in the wilderness, entering into Israel, the period of the Judges that they were under for about 400 years or so, and then the setting up of the united monarchy. We had king Saul but the united monarchy really didn't come into existence until King David and it was seven years into his reign when he was then anointed again in Jerusalem and became king over all of Israel, both the northern and the southern tribes. And that united monarchy lasted through the remainder of his 33 year reign and his son Solomon's 40 year reign.

But the story for our purposes here today really begins with the death of Solomon. That was when the kingdom was divided. It was divided into two camps: the house of Judah and the house of Israel. Here are descriptions of the various tribes that came into Israel:

Simeon was actually scattered. Some of them were in the house of Judah. Their territory was actually south of the rest of Judah. They were never able to totally conquer their area.

Neither was Dan able to totally conquer their territory over in what is now the Gaza strip. They had continual trouble with the Philistines so they migrated to the very north of Israel and they became the northernmost tribe, up near Mount Herman.

Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh were on the east side of the Jordan River. The Golan Heights and parts of today's Jordan and Syria were part of Manasseh.

Shechom, in what is now called Samaria was the capitol of the northern ten tribes. King Jeroboam became the king of the northern ten tribes and Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, became the king of Judah.

The house of Israel became spiritually lost before they became physically lost. This loss of spirituality occurred immediately after they separated although it was in process and developing before that time. 1 Kings 12:26

(1 Ki 12:26-29 NKJV) And Jeroboam said in his heart, "Now the kingdom may return to the house of David: {27} "If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah." {28} Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!" {29} And he set up one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.

The feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) along with the other fall festivals were coming up and he was afraid that the people would want to go back to Jerusalem to celebrate them. But Jeroboam had already decided that they would separate so he made two calves of gold and instructed the people to worship them instead. One was placed in Bet-El, near the border with Judah. The other was placed in Dan which was way up in the north. If you are ever able to visit Israel, you will be able to visit the excavation at Dan to see where this took place.

He made shrines on the high places and made priests of every class of people who were not the sons of Levy. The true sons of Levi returned to Judah. So now anyone could be a priest qualified or not. Jeroboam ordained a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month (about October). He actually moved the date of Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles) one month later than the feast which was in Judah. He offered sacrifices and burned incense to the calves he had made. He decided which festivals he would keep just as Ephraim today has decided which festivals it would keep rather than follow the ones God, i.e. HaShem, has specified in Lev 23.

There were nineteen kings who reigned over the house of Israel over a period of two hundred years. All nineteen kings worshiped the golden calves. Some of the worst kings participated in Baal worship. Ahav was considered the worst of the worst. So the tribe of Israel was lost from the very beginning but they continued to exist in the land for over two hundred years, about the age of the United States. In Jeremiah 3:8 we find that God divorced the house of Israel.

(Jer 3:8 NKJV) "Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.

So the divorce for adultery with other gods was issued. It was like the divorce paper that a husband gives to a wife. Nowhere in scripture do we find that God ever divorced the house of Judah. That is why Judah has retained her identity while the house of Israel has lost hers.

Divorce involves separation. The house of Israel was not willing to move out of the house voluntarily, so they had to be removed by force. So God raised up a nation called the Assyrians to accomplish this task. 2 Kings 17:6

(2 Ki 17:6 NKJV) 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.

So there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone. Did every last citizen of the tribes of Israel become captive? Probably not. Some would have probably fled to Judah. In fact we know that at the time of Jesus or Yeshua, that there was a woman at the temple from the tribe of Ashur who made a prophesy over Yeshua. She knew what tribe she had come from and that was centuries later. Some probably hid in caves, some in the forest, some left the country. The tribe of Zebulan lived on the coast near Tyre and Sidon, in the region of the Phoenicians and they were sailors. Some may have fled to other lands. But the bottom line is that only Judah remained.

Where were they taken? There is some dispute about that among the scholars. It is believed that they were taken to the northern portion of the Assyrian empire, towards the Black Sea. Between the Black and Caspian Sea there is a mountain range called the Caucasus Mountains. That's where the term Caucasian comes from. They were taken into these outpost areas. Some were taken further east to the land of the Medes. So they were dispersed throughout the region.

Two of the interesting things about the Assyrians is that they kept the families together when they moved them and they moved them into good lands. This was not a punishment for the people. It was a punishment for the leaders who were primarily imprisoned or put to death. It is believed that some of these people were actually absorbed into the Assyrian army to protect the northern outposts of Assyria.

The year of the final capture was about 722 BC. So that's about 2700 years ago. Other people were then moved into the land of Israel to replace the Israeli tribes. 2 Kings 17:24

(2 Ki 17:24 NKJV) {24} Then the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they took possession of Samaria and dwelt in its cities.

This was common Assyrian practice. They were brought from areas to the south and east of the Assyrian empire. These were the people who became known as the Samaritans. They probably intermarried with the remnant of the Israelites who lived there. In fact there are people living in Israel today who claim to be Samaritan. They are a small group and they claim to be part of the ten tribes of Israel.

Over time they did establish a religion based on the Pentateuch or Torah. But it was mixed with paganism. It was relatively simple for a Samaritan to become a convert to Judaism at the time of Yeshua. They were already circumcised and they already knew Torah, so all they had to do was to denounce Mount Gerizim where the Samaritans sacrificed and offer sacrifices at the Temple, and they became Jews. That was the only requirement. They did not have to go through all the things that other gentiles had to go through. Yet there was great animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans in Yeshua's day as we read in the scriptures.

An interesting point is that for over 1000 years the whereabouts of a portion of the house of Israel was actually known to the Jews living in what is now Israel. 1 Chron 5:26

(1 Chr 5:26 NKJV) So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, that is, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria. He carried the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh into captivity. He took them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river of Gozan to this day.

This is a repetition of what we just read in 2 Kings, but Chronicles was written much later. Most scholars believe it was written by Ezra, though there is some dispute about that. Some think it was written by Jeremiah, but the point is that a long time later, maybe 100 or 200 years later, the writer of Chronicles knew where the lost tribes were and knew that they were still there. Then we have Yeshua's statement at Mat 10:5-6 where he instructs his disciples.

(Mat 10:5-6 NKJV) 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. {6} "But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Here's some other interesting quotes from other documents: The first one comes from Josephus. Josephus is the famous Jewish historian of the first century. He lived after the time of Jesus (Yeshua). He was involved first of all in the first Jewish revolt and then gave himself up to the Romans. He was a turncoat. He ended up in Rome where he wrote a history of the Jews. In his history of the wars called the "Antiquities of the Jews", he wrote: "There are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are beyond Euphrates until now and are an immense multitude and not to be estimated by numbers." This is late in the first century AD.

The next comes from an apocryphal book called the Testament of Moses. It was probably written about the time of Yeshua. "Then some of the tribes will go up and come to their appointed place, once again surround the place with walls (referring to the 538 BC return from Babylon). Two tribes will continue on in the way appointed for them and the ten tribes will be fruitful and increase among the Gentiles during their time of captivity." This is not scripture but it is certainly an historical document.

Then there is a quote from Esdras II. Ezra did not write this but it was attributed to him. "But they formed this plan for themselves, that they would leave the multitude of nations and go to a more distant region, a journey of a year and a half. And that country is called Ozeret. This is speaking of the ten tribes. Ozeret means another land. That means they were preparing to leave the place where they had been captive and go to some place which was over a year and a half's journey away. That's quite some distance even if you have to walk. But of course they may have had no roads or bridges or even wagons or horses or oxen. But you could normally walk a long way in a year and a half.

Also in the east is a land called Parthia. Many believe it was occupied by the lost tribes. Also in the same general region were the Sythians, also identified with the lost tribes. They were located just south of the Caucasus Mountains but also well toward Europe.

The most telling of the teachings are found in a midrash. Midrash means stories and allegories. Genesis Rabbah 11:5 states that the ten tribes migrated from Assyria beyond the river called Bombatione. According to tradition this river, location unknown, is supposed to flow six days a week but it stops on the Sabbath.

The midrash contains things which seem to be rather fanciful because it teaches concepts and moral things that need not be taken literally. However, there is an orthodox Jewish scholar named John Hulley, who lives in Israel. He is not a stupid man. He was formerly a top official in the world bank. He is highly educated and highly intelligent. He has done some research on the lost tribes. He believes that this river refers to what is known as the Bosporus Straights, which is that part of Turkey between Europe and Asia . It lies between the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea. Today it is a major shipping channel for Russia's only warm water ports. But the Bosporus Straight is very unusual because it is said that the current in the straight does slow down and sometimes even reverses its flow about once a week. This is a scientific fact. So Hulley feels that this is the river that the lost tribes crossed on their way to Europe. Maybe it was a year and a half's journey from there to northwestern Europe.

Interestingly enough, many orthodox Jews have come to the same kinds of conclusion as to where these people went. Now with each consecutive change of leadership in the area of Assyria, waves of ethnic people are thought to have left that area in order to escape bloodshed. Assyria was conquered by the Chaldeans or the Babylonians. Later on Babylon was conquered by the Medo-Persian empire, which was conquered by Alexander the Great, which was turned over to the Salucids. Then the Parthians conquered the Salucid empire. They were the only empire up to that time that Rome had been unable to conquer. They had a real standoff. The holy land was often a central point of their conflict. About 300 AD they were finally defeated by the Romans and they left. Where did they go? Some believe they were part of the lost tribes. Rather than being under Roman rule they migrated north over the Caucases, east, and west toward Europe. We cannot take all of this literally because we can not be sure of the validity of these migrations. Yair Davidi also traces their migration through dolmens, which are stone monuments which had a single flat stone supported by several vertical stones. The following scripture seems to support this method of tracing their migration.

(Jer 31:21 NASB) "Set up for yourself roadmarks, Place for yourself guideposts; Direct your mind to the highway, The way by which you went. Return, O virgin of Israel, Return to these your cities.

The use of the word "virgin" may also indicate that only those untainted from false religions may be allowed to return to Israel.

While there is historical evidence of these migrations, we cannot be certain because the house of Israel became lost. Not all of the tribes went west. Some of them went east. Those that went east seemed to be better at preserving their identity than those who went west. So we have the Shilong tribe of northeast India, on the border between India and China, who claim that they are descendants of the tribe of Manasseh. They have recently been given the privilege of right of return to Israel. Some of them have already returned to Israel and are going through the process of making aliya. They are not considered to be Jewish, but from the lost tribes of Israel. They look like people from India.

Others who claim to be from the ten lost tribes are the Ching-min of Tibet, the Kozars, the Karites some of whom live in Israel to this day, the Samaritans, the Berbers of North Africa, the Shindai tribe of Japan, and various American Indian groups. Meanwhile other people claim to be descendants from Judah. e.g. The black Falacias from Ethiopia. Sometimes you can see Bar Mitzvahs at the Wailing Wall where the participants are all dressed in their black pants, white shirts, shiny shoes, colorful vests, and they're all black and they're all Jews. There are a group of Africans called the Lemba who live in east-central and southern Africa, who have many Jewish traditions. The DNA test has been developed which seemingly proves who has descended from Aaron. They gave this test to the black Lemba males of southern and east-central Africa and found that about fifty percent of them can carry this DNA. Their claim to be Jews is probably true. They are descended from the Jews and probably from the Levitical members of the house of Judah.

So, when we start talking about ethnic purity, we need to just stop. There is no such thing. Truly, the seed of Isaac and Jacob and Abraham have been scattered and mixed throughout the entirety of the world. It has been said that it you have French ancestry, you are probably a descendant of Charlemagne. Charlemagne was a king who lived about 1200 years ago. It's nothing to be proud of to be a descendant of Charlemagne. But if you're French you probably are. Is it not logical that if all those with French ancestry are descendants of Charlemagne, that in 2700 or 3500 years, however long it has been, that the seed of Abraham might not be dispersed far, far wider?

So the ten tribes became lost. They migrated into Europe during the dark ages, i.e. during the 5th through 10th centuries AD. About the only people who could read and write were the monks in the monasteries and they kept the books. The common man's main interest was to earn a living, keep enough food on the table, and to keep his mouth shut so he was not persecuted by the church. Actually, Christians who were accused of being heretics were treated by the church even worse than Jews were treated. They lost their identity, especially those who migrated into Europe where the dark ages were especially dark, where the Roman Church prevailed. They didn't know who they were anymore. They thought they were gentiles if they even thought about it.

How were they unveiled? This process started about 400 years ago in a process called British-Israelism. It is a belief that the British people are the literal and lineal descendants of the lost tribes of Israel. The Puritans who founded the Massachusetts colony in the United States did not think they were descendants of the ten tribes, though they were probably of Manasseh. They thought that the ten tribes were in Asia and that they were the new Israel. They were kind of preaching a form of replacement theology even then.

The first British-Israelite teacher in England that we know about is named Richard Brothers. He lived from the late 1700s to the early 1800s. He believed that God had given him a divine mission to lead the Jews back to Palestine. He believed that he was a descendant of the house of David. He said that most Jews were hidden within European populations and did not know they were Jewish. This was probably the first case of someone calling the lost ten tribes Jewish. His contribution was small because he really didn't know very much, but it was the beginning of the unveiling.

In the mid-1800s, a man named John Wilson published a book "Lectures on Our Israelitish Origin." He attempted to demonstrate that the ten tribes had migrated from the middle east to Europe by word association; that is by comparing same-sounding words. This is still a technique used today by such authors as Yair Davidi. Some examples of word association are: The word British in Hebrew means Covenant Man. Another one is Saxon, which they say is from Isaac-son. Denmark is said to be the "mark of Dan." They claim that as Dan migrated up through Europe, he renamed things. Another example of Dan is the Danube River. Academic historians scoff at this technique. John Wilson also taught that Ephraim was England and the United States was Mannaseh. Gen 48:15-19

(Gen 48:15-19 NKJV) And he blessed Joseph, and said: "God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has fed me all my life long to this day, {16} The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless the lads; Let my name be named upon them, And the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth." {17} Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took hold of his father's hand to remove it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head. {18} And Joseph said to his father, "Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head." {19} But his father refused and said, "I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations."

In classic British-Israel teaching the Jews are always thought of as being brothers of the lost tribes. British-Israelism gets a lot of bad press but often those who criticize British-Israelism also criticize the Jews because they killed the Christ. They also claim that Judah was a mixed race because she intermarried with others; but that the ten lost tribes who left Israel intermarried with gentiles and thus are the pure race. Just the opposite of what is probably more correct.

A man named J. H. Allen, who lived from 1837 to 1930, wrote a book called "Judah's Scepter and Joseph's Birthright." This is the book which mainly influenced H. W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God. Armstrong wrote a book entitled "The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophesy" but most of his information came out of J. H. Allen's book.

How important is it to be a descendent of Israel? Anyone can become a member of the commonwealth of Israel. Rom 11:17-18

(Rom 11:17-18 NKJV) And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, {18} do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.

Everyone can become a member of Israel even if they are a pure bred gentile. The wild olive tree contains a lot of people who are descendants of Israel but it also contains a lot of full blooded gentiles. They can all be grafted in. Verse 26

(Verse 26 NKJV) And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;

So all Israel will be saved. What will be the result of further knowledge of the location of the lost tribes? It will cause many to be interested in spiritual things. It will bring many into a personal relationship with Jesus (Yeshua). It will bring a closer relationship between the descendants of Judah and the descendants of Israel. Just as Judah and Joseph were reconciled with each other in Egypt, so we, the descendants of Judah and Joseph need to be reconciled today. That's the bottom line. That's when the two sticks in God's hand can be rejoined.

According to Jewish Halacha, the ten tribes will return to Israel in the last days. Orthodox Judaism admits that the lost ten tribes have not returned to Israel and they are awaiting their return. It is not only the Jews who are to return, but also the other tribes of Israel. Prophecies about the house of Ephraim, include its return to Israel in the last times. These show the two houses coming back together. For example:

(Jeremiah 3:18) "In those days [the last times] the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel [Ephraim], 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."
(Isaiah 11:11-12) And it shall come to pass in that day [the last times] that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time [the first time having been the exodus from Egypt] to recover the remnant of His people . . . And He . . . shall assemble the outcasts of [the house of] Israel, and gather together the dispersed of [the house of] Judah from the four corners of the earth.

The return to Israel involves reconquering the land. Here again both houses are involved. They are also to be spiritually purified and reunited. At that time the Messiah comes. The sequence of events is given in Ezekiel's prophecy about the two sticks (Ezekiel 37:15-28). Verses 16 and 19 names the houses of Ephraim and Judah:

(Ezekiel 37:21-28 KJV) Thus saith the Lord God: "Behold, I will take the children of Israel [both houses] from among the nations to which they are gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land. And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols . . . but I . . . will cleanse them . . David, my servant, shall be king over them . . . and I will . . . set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore."

These verses tell us that three things will happen to the two houses regarding their return: spiritual purification, unification and the appointment of a Davidic king or Messiah. Other prophets confirm that these events occur after their return.

Zechariah 13:8-9, referring apparently to both houses, prophesies a very strict refining process to take place regarding the people and the land. It does not specify what land but my impression is that their former land and people will be tried and only those God accepts will return to Israel.

(Zec 13:8 KJV) And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.
(Verse 9 NKJV) I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, 'This is My people'; And each one will say, 'The LORD is my God.'"

A similar timing is implied in Hosea:

(Hosea 1:11 NKJV) Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel Shall be gathered together, And appoint for themselves one head; And they shall come up out of the land, For great will be the day of Jezreel!

Like that of Ezekiel, Hosea's prophecy portrays the presence in Israel of both houses when the new leader is appointed to rule over them. Which land, the one they are leaving or the one to which they arrive, is not specified. According to Mr. Hulley, the scriptures quoted above suggest the following sequence of events:

Step one: Both houses of Israel return to the land

(Isa 11:11-12 NKJV) It shall come to pass in that day That the LORD shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush, From Elam and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea. {12} He will set up a banner for the nations, And will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth.
(Jer 3:18 NKJV) "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 as an inheritance to your fathers.
(Ezek 37:25-28 NKJV) "Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children's children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. {26} "Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. {27} "My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. {28} "The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore."' "

Step two:They are spiritually purified by God.

(Ezek 37:23 NKJV) "They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.
(Zec 13:8-9 NKJV) And it shall come to pass in all the land," Says the LORD, "That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, But one- third shall be left in it: {9} I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, 'This is My people'; And each one will say, 'The LORD is my God.'"
(Jer 3:14-15 NKJV) "Return, O backsliding children," says the LORD; "for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. {15} "And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.

Step three: The purification provides the basis for reconciling and reuniting them, and fits them for service in the messianic government

(Isa 11:13 NKJV) Also the envy of Ephraim shall depart, And the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, And Judah shall not harass Ephraim.
(Ezek 37:22 NKJV) "and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again.

Step four: The Messiah comes and establishes His rule.

(Ezek 37:24 NKJV) "David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them.
(Hosea 3:5 NKJV) Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.

Classical commentators (such as the Abarbanel ca. 1490s) said that the Messiah son of David would bring the Lost Tribes back. Abarbanel even considered this to be an article of faith. The simple meaning of Hosea 1:11 would fit the understanding of Abarbanel who incidentally was a chief minister and advisor to several monarchs in his time.

According to Yair Davidi, the Bible foresees the Lost ten Tribes returning to Lebanon and Gilead (Zechariah 10), Gilead and Bashan (both are in Syria and parts of Turkey and Iraq and including Jordan) (Micah 7:4), and the cities of Samaria (Jeremiah 31:25). Judah may initiate these steps at least concerning the return of Ephraim to Samaria. The word Ephraim is sometimes used to describe all the lost tribes.

We have just described the saving of spiritual Israel, the saving of those who accept the sacrifice of our Messiah, those who have dedicated their lives to following God's instructions, those who are righteous in God's sight. But what of the rest of Israel? Is there anything to the belief that some of the ten tribes might in fact have migrated to North America and Britain? If they have and if that is where physical Israel resides today, what does God say will happen to them during the days of God's wrath? Let's read Ezekiel 7 for an insight. Remember that Ezekiel was a Jewish captive in Babylon, 125 years after the captivity of the house of Israel, when he wrote this prophesy to Israel.

(Ezek 7 NKJV) Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, {2} "And you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD to the land of Israel: 'An end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land. {3} Now the end has come upon you, And I will send My anger against you; I will judge you according to your ways, And I will repay you for all your abominations. {4} My eye will not spare you, Nor will I have pity; But I will repay your ways, And your abominations will be in your midst; Then you shall know that I am the LORD!' {5} "Thus says the Lord GOD: 'A disaster, a singular disaster; Behold, it has come! {6} An end has come, The end has come; It has dawned for you; Behold, it has come! {7} Doom has come to you, you who dwell in the land; The time has come, A day of trouble is near, And not of rejoicing in the mountains. {8} Now upon you I will soon pour out My fury, And spend My anger upon you; I will judge you according to your ways, And I will repay you for all your abominations. {9} 'My eye will not spare, Nor will I have pity; I will repay you according to your ways, And your abominations will be in your midst. Then you shall know that I am the LORD who strikes. {10} 'Behold, the day! Behold, it has come! Doom has gone out; The rod has blossomed, Pride has budded. {11} Violence has risen up into a rod of wickedness; None of them shall remain, None of their multitude, None of them; Nor shall there be wailing for them. {12} The time has come, The day draws near. 'Let not the buyer rejoice, Nor the seller mourn, For wrath is on their whole multitude. {13} For the seller shall not return to what has been sold, Though he may still be alive; For the vision concerns the whole multitude, And it shall not turn back; No one will strengthen himself Who lives in iniquity. {14} 'They have blown the trumpet and made everyone ready, But no one goes to battle; For My wrath is on all their multitude. {15} The sword is outside, And the pestilence and famine within. Whoever is in the field Will die by the sword; And whoever is in the city, Famine and pestilence will devour him. {16} 'Those who survive will escape and be on the mountains Like doves of the valleys, All of them mourning, Each for his iniquity. {17} Every hand will be feeble, And every knee will be as weak as water. {18} They will also be girded with sackcloth; Horror will cover them; Shame will be on every face, Baldness on all their heads. {19} 'They will throw their silver into the streets, And their gold will be like refuse; Their silver and their gold will not be able to deliver them In the day of the wrath of the LORD; They will not satisfy their souls, Nor fill their stomachs, Because it became their stumbling block of iniquity. {20} 'As for the beauty of his ornaments, He set it in majesty; But they made from it The images of their abominations; Their detestable things; Therefore I have made it Like refuse to them. {21} I will give it as plunder Into the hands of strangers, And to the wicked of the earth as spoil; And they shall defile it. {22} I will turn My face from them, And they will defile My secret place; For robbers shall enter it and defile it. {23} 'Make a chain, For the land is filled with crimes of blood, And the city is full of violence. {24} Therefore I will bring the worst of the Gentiles, And they will possess their houses; I will cause the pomp of the strong to cease, And their holy places shall be defiled. {25} Destruction comes; They will seek peace, but there shall be none. {26} Disaster will come upon disaster, And rumor will be upon rumor. Then they will seek a vision from a prophet; But the law will perish from the priest, And counsel from the elders. {27} 'The king will mourn, The prince will be clothed with desolation, And the hands of the common people will tremble. I will do to them according to their way, And according to what they deserve I will judge them; Then they shall know that I am the LORD!'"

Are verses 23-27 describing the U.S.? This country was founded on Biblical laws and principles. It thereby received God's blessings. Has our rejection of every law of God and of God himself finally caught up with us? Have we committed adultery with other gods including the gods of sinful pleasure and materialism? Remember, these verses were written 125 years after Israel was taken captive. Who is the worst of the Gentiles? Are we going to again experience the same penalties as ancient Israel when Assyria conquered the ten tribes of Israel? Where are the Assyrians today? Many say they are now in central Europe. We need to keep our eyes open to current world events. History repeats itself.

Revelation 7:1-8 describes the protection from the tribulation of twelve thousand people from each of the tribes except Dan. Verses 9-17 describe other saints who survive the tribulation because of their repentance. This chapter also shows that the tribes will be identifiable at the end times.

Genesis 49 is also a prophesy for each of the individual tribes at the end times.

Let's read a few more verses from Ezekiel 5.

(Ezek 5:12-13 NKJV) 'One-third of you shall die of the pestilence, and be consumed with famine in your midst; and one-third shall fall by the sword all around you; and I will scatter another third to all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them. {13} 'Thus shall My anger be spent, and I will cause My fury to rest upon them, and I will be avenged; and they shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it in My zeal, when I have spent My fury upon them.

The verses we have just read show a terrible time for Israel during the days of God's wrath. I do not believe He is talking about just the Jews in a land called Israel. I think he is talking to the descendants of physical Israel wherever they are today.

I hope you will use the points of this sermon to help you identify world events and thus be better able to prepare for the very difficult times ahead.

Note: Parts of this sermon are adapted, with permission, from a speech given by Dean Wheelock and information provided by Yair Davidi.

Sermon given by Wayne Bedwell
8 June 2013
Copyright 2013, Wayne Bedwell

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