Where are the ten lost tribes of Israel?

THE TEN TRIBES

Were the ten tribes restored after their dispersion?

Is it true that they were never restored? (see Acts 7: 27; Acts 5:21; Acts 2:36 *).

It is clearly impossible in this column to track out the deplorable delusion of “British Israelism,” which is occupying so many minds to-day with earthly hopes and national ambitions, to the exclusion of Christ and the HEAVENLY calling of the church. This church is being called out from all nations, including the British Empire, which, however, as a whole, is fast apostatising from God. At the same time, I think it is quite indefensible to contest this error by denying that the tribes of Israel were ever lost. All admit numbers of them seceded to Judah, but it is equally certain they existed as a separate kingdom till 721 B.C., when they were carried away by Shalmaneser into Assyria. They were no skeleton tribes then, but able to resist a siege of three years to their capital by the greatest world power of the time (2 Kings 17:6). The fact that the generic name of Israel is sometimes applied to the remnant of Judah, etc., who returned from Babylon, proves nothing; they were as truly descended from Israel as the other tribes, and they were the representatives of the whole nation in the land. This explains the expression the questioner refers to “as to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

At that time large numbers of Jews were scattered throughout the civilised world. The Lord was not sent to these, for He never stepped outside the promised land, but He of course fulfilled His mission perfectly to such as were within its limits. In the prophets, Israel and Judah are constantly distinguished (e.g., Jeremiah 3:8-14; Zechariah 10:6; etc.). To faith the twelve tribes existed still even to New Testament times, and do still, though mostly lost to sight.

The breaking of the covenant between the two nations of Judah and Israel was only finally consummated at the crucifixion, i.e., when “Beauty” was cut off, “Bands” cut asunder, and (see carefully Zechariah 2:10-14) “the brotherhood between Judah and Israel” broken. That state of alienation will continue till the restoration of both in the last days. In Isa. 27. 13 we read, “They shall come which were ready to perish (Heb. ‘abhadh. see R.V. Marg., ‘lost.’ This is the first meaning Gesenius gives to the word—like ‘a wandering sheep which gets lost and disappears,’ and quotes this verse in support) in the land of Assyria.”

If you lose a thing, it is not a bad idea to look for it where you lost it. There is no record, biblical or historical, of the tribes of Israel ever having returned to the land, or having migrated to other lands, or being scattered, as the Jews have been; in fact, they are called “OUTCASTS of Israel,” in distinction from the “DISPERSED of Judah” (Isaiah 11:12-16). It is only in Ezek. 37:16-22, after the vision of the dry bones, that is, in quite the last days, that the two peoples are once more reunited— “For Judah, and the children of Israel, his companions (i.e., the seceders to Judah from the other tribes), and for Joseph, the stock of Ephraim and all the house of Israel, his companions” (i.e., the great majority of the ten tribes). I think a careful consideration of this passage alone is sufficient to show that up to that point, the two leading companies will have been separate peoples, leading a distinct existence, and with no attempt to coalesce. It is noticeable that in Zechariah 12:1 when the Lord comes in glory to deliver Jerusalem, only “Judah and his companions” will have returned to the land, and they are addressed as “Israel” in erse 1.

*

Acts 4:27  For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 

Act 5:21  And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.

Act 2:36  Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

W.H.