12th of Tamuz, 5784 | י״ב בְּתַמּוּז תשפ״ד

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Home » Topical Teachings » The 10 Lost Tribes of Israel – Part 5

The 10 Lost Tribes of Israel – Part 5

The 10 Lost Tribes of Israel

Part 5

We ended our last session on the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel by talking about the inherent dual nature of things in our Universe. Even our Messiah has a dual nature as the Suffering Servant and the Warrior King; and His dual nature also was displayed in that He was fully man and fully God simultaneously. Key to our study is that it is becoming clear NOT from speculation or scholarly consensus, but from what has actually burst into reality in the last 20 years or so is that Ephraim, son of Joseph, who was legally adopted away by Jacob and has an important dual nature. So much of Ephraim (meaning the 10 tribes he represented) was assimilated into the gentile world, but at the same time a lesser but significant remnant retained a memory of, and allegiance to, their Hebrew identity to this day, maintaining exactly which of the 10 tribes they belong to.

We need to be on guard not to fall into the intellectual snare that the Jewish intellectuals of old fell into, and into which many a brilliant Christian Bible scholar falls into today. The Jewish leadership of 30 A.D. turned their own people away from their Jewish Messiah, Yeshua, because they could not accept the concept of “dual nature”. When we see the Bible ascribe dual natures to something, we need to accept it even if we can’t intellectually comprehend how it’s possible. Some things are just going to be mysteries to us until God decides, in His time, to reveal them to us. God is ALL love and mercy, and bestows kindness: and at the same time, He is ALL just and will bestow punishment and wrath. By our way of thinking, these are practically opposites. It just plain hurts our brains. We can believe it…but we have a difficult time comprehending it. Some of the Christian denominations that exist today are composed of those who cannot handle the idea that God is fully both natures, simultaneously; so, they concentrate on just ONE nature, and ignore the other, and a few go so far as to DENY one or the other nature. How often have we all heard non-Believers, or sometimes very confused Believers, say “There can be no Hell. How could a God that is supposed to be so merciful and loving also be a God who judges people and sends them to an eternity of torment?” Yet, it is so, according to the Word of God.

Therefore, it certainly appears from the Scriptural evidence that Ephraim (who represents the 10 so-called lost tribes of Israel) also has a dual nature: Nature #1, swallowed up and digested and assimilated into the gentile nations… AND…Nature #2, living beyond the Euphrates, maintaining their Hebrew tribal identities, yet going nearly unnoticed by the world for century after century. This might be a good time for me to remind you that when we speak of the return of Ephraim to the land of Israel we are speaking of unfulfilled prophecy… or perhaps from our vantage point of the year 2024, it would be better to say that it is a prophecy that is in process of fulfillment. And even though the first groups of Ephraim are now returning to Israel, it is increasing from trickle to a steady flow. Therefore, exactly how this plays out is hazy and incomplete. What I am suggesting to you may look somewhat different when it actually happens over the next few months and year. That makes it all the more important that we know the Scriptures well so that we can recognize the signs of when ANY prophecy is in the midst of being fulfilled. The many different manmade End Times doctrines to be very rigid about such things, with little room for disagreement or even acknowledging that perhaps it is time or a re-examination. Thus, there is great danger for all Believers that we can deny the fulfillment of an important prophetic milestone because it doesn’t fit with our agendas or some accepted Systematic Theology of one denomination or another.

There are some today who believe that Ephraim is now the gentile Church and that the Cross-Handed Blessing was essentially a prophecy and a mechanism for creating the gentile Church. There are even some Believers who believe with all their hearts, without any evidence whatsoever, that not only are they a descendant of one of these 10 lost tribes, but that they know which of the tribes of Ephraim they are part of. There is another movement that goes so far as to claim that the British are Ephraim, or at least one of the Ephraimite tribes, and that America is also one of the Ephraimite tribes. Naturally this causes much consternation among the Jews who see this as just another attempt by gentile Christianity to steal their cherished heritage and assign it to the Church.

It is my conclusion based on what we know in the Year of our Lord 2024 that the dual nature of Ephraim is NOT one of two different PHYSICAL natures…that is, 1 camp composed of so-called gentile Ephraimites and another camp composed Hebrew Ephraimites (those tribes in the video) but rather 1 camp of Ephraimites who know who they are, and another camp that has been so assimilated into the gentile world that they don’t know who they are. It is undeniable that the amount of intermixing of races in this world over the last 2700 years means that the genes of Ephraim are present in countless millions, probably billions, of people living and dead. If that sounds like I’m hedging my bets, you’re right because this is all just too fuzzy right now to be absolutely sure of all of the ramifications. So, I would ask each of you to not get too entrenched or rigid in your positions about this and other popular End Times scenarios, which might prove to not only create needless hostility between Jews and gentile Believers, and between various factions within the Believing body, but also prove to be rather embarrassing when Messiah returns and we finally get all the facts.

The Apostle Paul had a rather interesting take on this mixing of the Diaspora Israelites with the many different peoples of the world, and of the growing effect of acceptance of the Hebrew faith on gentiles.

CJB Romans 2:17-29 17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rest on Torah and boast about God 18 and know his will and give your approval to what is right, because you have been instructed from the Torah; 19 and if you have persuaded yourself that you are a guide to the blind, a light in the darkness, 20 an instructor for the spiritually unaware and a teacher of children, since in the Torah you have the embodiment of knowledge and truth; 21 then, you who teach others, don't you teach yourself? Preaching, "Thou shalt not steal," do you steal? 22 Saying, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," do you commit adultery? Detesting idols, do you commit idolatrous acts? 23 You who take such pride in Torah, do you, by disobeying the Torah, dishonor God? 24 as it says in the Tanakh, "For it is because of you that God's name is blasphemed by the Goyim." 25 For circumcision is indeed of value if you do what Torah says. But if you are a transgressor of Torah, your circumcision has become uncircumcision! 26 Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the Torah, won't his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? 27 Indeed, the man who is physically uncircumcised but obeys the Torah will stand as a judgment on you who have had a b'rit-milah and have Torah written out but violate it! 28 For the real Jew is not merely Jewish outwardly: true circumcision is not only external and physical. 29 On the contrary, the real Jew is one inwardly; and true circumcision is of the heart, spiritual not literal; so that his praise comes not from other people but from God.

The terms Hebrew, Israelite, and Jew were all synonymous in common speaking in Pauls’ day in the Holy Land, and we get a good example of that in Romans 11, where after repeatedly calling himself a Jew, he elaborates.

CJB Romans 11:1 "In that case, I say, isn't it that God has repudiated his people?" Heaven forbid! For I myself am a son of Isra'el, from the seed of Avraham, of the tribe of Binyamin.

The point is that saying “Jew” in Paul’s day meant to indicate membership in whatever Israelite remnants of God’s people who still identity themselves as Hebrews, regardless of tribe. But since the lost tribes were beyond the Euphrates, living in mostly hostile areas far, far away and disconnected from the Holy Land, then they were not in the forefront of any Jew’s mind… including Paul’s.

The idea is that to be a true Hebrew, Paul says it is a spiritual issue more than merely a genealogical or a national one. Thus, a circumcision of the foreskin (which is the price of membership into the Jewish nation) is but a physical demonstration of the spiritual principle of a circumcised heart (mind) being the price of admission to the Kingdom of God. So, the concept of gentile Believers being connected to Israel from a spiritual sense is a better way to understand what Paul was getting at rather than trying to carefully define what a Jew is.

Ironically those tribes pictured in the video presentation who stepped forward to declare their Hebrew heritage and who have steadfastly maintained their identity with Ephraim (century after century) are now being accused of fabricating a story just so they can SAY they’re part of Israel; and in the video you heard the Israeli Museum Director say as much. How bizarre! Of course, what other alternative explanation outside of the Biblical and obvious truth can be offered? Could it actually be that all those tribes, consisting of hundreds of thousands (probably a few millions) of people so widely dispersed as to be unaware of the other tribes’ existence, are all liars? Or they have all simultaneously contrived a clever deception since time immemorial? Essentially that was the Museum Director’s position. Traditions die hard; and he is attempting to hang on to a long-held Jewish position that they are all remains of Israel. Yet, not only does recorded history dispute that, but also does the Bible and now simply reality destroy that myth.

The skeptics say that because of where these people live today (generally in third-world or impoverished regions) that they would have a better life, they think, in Israel. So, they’re making up this elaborate tale, forging ancient documents and artifacts, just so they can immigrate to Israel. But that rather absurd position falls completely apart when we factor in that until a mere 65 years ago, there was no nation of Israel for them to try to immigrate to. Yet every one of these tribes that you saw has for hundreds of years, if not more, maintained a tradition of identity with one or another specific tribe of the 10 tribes of Ephraim-Israel. The other ethnic groups among whom they reside validates it. And this has often been to their detriment within their local culture. In the video we were given excerpts from the 250-year-old diaries of Jewish and Christian academics and adventurers who explored these far flung and remote regions of Asia and the Far East documented these same people and their adamant claims to be Israelites. Two centuries BEFORE Israel again existed as a nation these mysterious tribes were making these same claims. This is not a new phenomenon. It’s only new to the western world, to the Church and to most Jewish people!!

Early in the 1800’s a highly placed European Rabbi went to the Far East to investigate claims and rumors that there were indeed several of the lost tribes of Israel re-emerging. His findings upon his return sent shockwaves through the Hebrew settlements in Europe. In a cache of letters found in an old trunk in Amsterdam only about 20 years ago, were hundreds of stories of many Jews throughout Europe who believed that the discovery of these lost tribes signaled the soon-coming of Messiah. Thus, in the early part of the 19th century thousands of Jews moved to the nearly-unlivable desolation of Palestine (the former Judah and Ephraim/Israel territories) to await the Messiah’s arrival and their redemption, which was predicted to occur in 1840. Of course it didn’t happen, and many returned to Europe broken hearted. But many more stayed in the Land and it swelled the meager Jewish population (that had been there long before this Jewish revival and migration) to a more substantial size.

The reality is that these enormous groups of people claiming and displaying an Israelite identity are not presenting new claims, and they could only have suffered from persecution and alienation all those hundreds of years as a minority religion, unwanted and living in a foreign land dominated by Muslims, or Hindus, or Buddhists among others. It is rather ludicrous to think that even ONE of those groups we saw would do such a self-destructive thing as a hoax; but for many, from all over Asia, not even knowing that the others existed, to claim to be a specific tribe of Israel as a deception or some type of mass religious hysteria carried on for centuries is an absurd notion. I cannot think of one single example of this sort of claim by anthropologists or religious leaders or historians about any other people in all the world; that is, that there had been several enormous groups of people that have created and fostered a false identity, and hung on to it vehemently for more than 2000 years. I’m sad to say that at the root of this irrational denial are two things: first, a belief among some of our greatest biblical scholars that there is no such thing as prophecy or miracles, and second is nothing less than an exposing of an underlying anti-Semitism that has pervaded this world for over 3000 years. It began with the Emperor Constantine and the creation of a brand-new gentiles-only faith he fostered in the 4th century A.D., which moved the center of faith and authority from Jews and Jerusalem to gentile Bishops and Rome. This is what is today known the world over as “The Church”.

So, what is this miraculous event spoken of in Ezekiel 37, the rejoining of Ephraim and Judah, likely to look like? HOW will it play out? Is it going to happen suddenly, overnight? Are these 10 lost tribes essentially several groups of Israelites who became gentiles and are now the church as some think (but I DO NOT agree with that notion) or are these tribes actually Hebrews who have somehow hung on to their Israelite identities under almost impossible circumstances (which IS the group I believe the evidence validates)? Are all of these 10 Lost Tribes going to just wake up one morning and jam airline ticket counters, determined that they need to board the next flight to Israel? Even if that were possible financially, logistically and politically? I think not.

One of the many misperceptions we battle as we read the Bible is that the hundreds of events that the Bible recounts all happened suddenly. A few did but most happened gradually; they were a process.

For instance, when Assyria conquered the northern Kingdom of Ephraim the history books typically give us date when that happened and that date is usually 722 or 723 BC. That’s probably pretty accurate except for one thing: that is actually the date of the last major battle in which the last major city in Ephraim-Israelite hands fell to the enemy; that city was Samaria (Shomron). In reality more than 15 years of warring between Assyria and Ephraim-Israel took place before the entire land of Ephraim and its people were finally conquered.

It was very much the same 125 years later with Babylon conquering Judah. There was a series of attacks and a methodical taking over of territory that belonged to Judah by Babylon; not one major thrust. The final piece taken was the capital city of Jerusalem because it was the most heavily defended and difficult to take. In fact, from the first attacks by Babylon upon the Jews to the day that all of Judah was finally in the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, took about a decade.

Hundreds of years later, long after the Jews had returned from Babylon to Judah, Rome would eventually take over all of the Holy Land; but even that situation evolved over a longer period of time than either the Assyrian or Babylonian take-overs; scores and scores of years in fact. Little by little Rome gained control, sometimes by entering into a treaty with the Jews and sometimes by military might. But in the end Rome finally burned Jerusalem, the crown jewel of the Holy Land, and did their level best to empty the land of Jews. This expulsion of the Jews is what has come to be called The Dispersal. Although the date usually ascribed to it was 70 A.D., actually 70 A.D. was just the year Jerusalem was destroyed. The final and most thorough emptying of the land of the Jewish people would not happen until 60 years later at the end of the Bar Kochba rebellion aka the 2nd Jewish Rebellion.

Interestingly the vast bulk of the Jews in the time of Rome’s dominance were not forcibly deported; they left the area on their own. They migrated to better opportunities, a chance for greener pastures, all over the new and exciting and accepting Roman Empire. By the time of Jesus’ ministry far more Jews lived in colonies scattered throughout Europe and Asia than lived in the Holy Lands. Paul, that great Apostle, was himself not from the Holy Land. He was one of the majority of Jews in that era who were born and lived outside the Holy Land, part of what we today call the Diaspora. It was primarily the Jewish diehards, the most religious, the most out-spoken, the most rebellious, and the Jewish religious leadership who were finally forced out of the Holy Land by the Romans.

Just to be sure the wrong picture is not painted for you, thousands of Jews NEVER left the Holy Land. Since the exodus of Israel from Egypt and right up until modern times…all throughout history there has been a contingent of Hebrews living in that area. It may have dropped to as few as 10 or 15 thousand at its lowest point, but the Holy Land has never been 100% devoid of God’s chosen people.

I tell you all this to help you understand that these great historic people movements, and the conquests of nations, their exiles and returns, were messy, uneven, and sporadic. History was never as nice and neat and well defined as our textbooks, or our Bibles, make it appear. So it is with the 3rd exodus of the Israelites. Let me explain. The Bible describes that there will be 3 exoduses by the Israelites. The first exodus of the Israelites was the one led by Moses when they escaped from Egypt around 1350 BC, and then for the first time in their history they possessed their promised land. This first exodus was composed of all 12 tribes of Israel (or more correctly, as I have demonstrated, it was actually 13 tribes when the Levites are counted).

The second exodus occurred when the Jews returned from their exile up to Babylon. This one consisted of ONLY 2 tribes (technically 3, when including the Levites) of the 12 tribes of Israel, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, which were now under a single tribal banner: Judah. So, it was the Jews (the former residents of Judah) who returned to the Holy Land in the 2nd exodus.

Now we come to the 3rd exodus, the Roman Exodus. You won’t read about the Roman Exodus as a historical event in the Bible. Why? Because it didn’t happen until recently. Certainly, there is prophesy after prophesy in the Word of God telling of the return of the Israelites from the four corners of the Earth, and the re-establishing of their homeland as a place called Israel. But the 3rd exodus, the Roman Exodus, was to be an event postponed until far into the future after their exile; an event that would take place long after the Bible was completed and closed up

If we were to assign a date to the Roman Exodus of the Jews it would have to be 1948 because that’s when Israel was reborn as a sovereign nation of Jews. But it’s not quite that easy; just as with all of the other dispersals and exodus’, the Roman Exodus is more a process than an event. And it is a process that began a couple hundred years before 1948 and is STILL continuing as more Jews return every day to the Holy Land, from the 4 corners of the earth.

All throughout the last 2000 years some miniscule number of Jews has migrated into, and migrated away from, the Holy Land. I find it astounding, frankly, that the Jewish people have been ABLE to maintain a distinct Jewish identity, having lived outside of their homeland for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years. I think it’s difficult for us to wrap our minds around this situation. Let me try to frame it in a way that we might understand it better. To we Americans in the 21st Century, 50 years is a very long time. We have only a few thousand people left in America who can recall WWII, which concluded not but 80 years ago. And for almost all of us who did not experience WWII, it is not only OLD history, it has no relevance whatsoever to our lives… or so it seems.

Probably most people hearing me could not trace their family history as Americans beyond more than 100-150 years. Oh, I know some could add 50 years or so to that, but for many more people, it would be many fewer years. My grandparents on my mother’s side migrated to America from Germany and Holland in the 1890’s. So, for me to go back any farther than 1890 in my own family history would require me NOT to see myself as an American, but to see my heritage as being European… specifically German and Dutch. In other words, my family history as an American is barely over 1 century old. In truth, I have utterly no feeling of belonging to the Germans or the Dutch (or the Welch on my father’s side). To me those people are foreigners. I have no yearning to go back to what historians would say is my homeland… Germany, or Holland, or England. I have nothing against any of these countries but they are irrelevant to my life because I identify to America and not to any of those other countries. I certainly wouldn’t pack up my family and return to Germany, nor am I aware of anyone in a similar circumstance who would.

Yet millions of Jewish people…not after 100 years, or 500 years, or even 1000 years… but after almost 2000 years… of being disassociated and disconnected from their homeland, became overwhelmed with the desire to go back to their heritage, to their historical land, and to re-establish a Jewish State. They certainly didn’t return to any Garden of Eden where life was easy. It was deserts, swamps, and dangerous. A high death rate and a hard, hard life was what awaited them. Do you see how insanely odd, if not impossible, the notion of their return to that place is? And yet today we are eyewitnesses to this very thing that God promised would happen; we can watch in our living rooms the TV accounts of Jews streaming back to their homeland; the 3rd exodus. We can, and should, help to bring Jewish people, and now maybe even some members of the 10 lost tribes, back to Israel. This is one of the greatest miracles of God of all time… and for most of the world, even the Church, generally receives it with a bored ho-hum.

Only since the beginning of 2003 is it that for the first time since BEFORE Christ was born, more Jews now live in their own nation than in any other place on Earth. Until 2003 more Jews lived in the U.S. than in Israel.

Even more, the most prominent Jewish leaders of the various Jewish sects in the U.S. and around the world for the first time since Babylon, have declared that now is the time for aliyah… now is the time for EVERY Jew to return to their homeland…to participate in the 3rd exodus, the Roman Exodus; and it is their duty as Jews to do so. That pronouncement has become the official goal of the most prominent Jewish leadership, worldwide, and they have pledged their lives to make it happen. If THAT doesn’t send a shiver up your spine….

What this is all leading up to is this: the reemergence of the 10 tribes of Ephraim… the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel… and the re-joining with their brethren, Judah (the Jews), as spoken of in Ezekiel 37. However, admittedly it has not been a clear and easy to spot matter. As we saw in the video, a few individuals from a couple of those tribes of Ephraim HAVE been allowed to immigrate to Israel…not as Jews…not as members of the House of Judah, but rather as members of that particular tribe of Israelites of the House of Ephraim that they are connected to. However, since the making of that video documentary, the number of tribes who have members that have come home to Israel has swelled. At the same time, we should not think of Ephraim’s re-emergence and return to Israel en masse in terms of taking place over coming centuries. In fact, I doubt we can think of it in terms of more than, perhaps, 40-50 years (if that much).

Here's the thing that is undeniable: Ephraim HAS reemerged!! The process of the 10 lost tribes rising from their hiding places in Asia, and returning to Israel to be rejoined with Judah, HAS begun. The Israeli government has now officially recognized it and sanctioned it.

In the video we saw a relative few individuals from Ephraim had actually been given permission to migrate to Israel, and they live there now. That has changed so the numbers coming home to Israel have increased. This has created quite a quandary for Israel that they are struggling to deal with because the Israeli law is, quite naturally, that in order to migrate to Israel, you must first be a Jew. But, Jewish tradition, since Babylon, has been that the Jews represent ALL 12 tribes of Israel. Yet these members of Israel, as we saw in the video, are NOT Jews……and they make a point of explaining that they’re of those 10 tribes that make up Ephraim. However, the proofs of their link to Israel are so conclusive that the Israeli government, and the highest Jewish religious leadership through several years of investigations and hearings, simply could not find a good reason to deny them coming to Israel…. even though they’re technically NOT Jews from the traditional understand of what a Jew is. The door has been flung open and the 10 lost tribes are now being welcomed and are arriving in ever increasing numbers to their ancient homeland of Israel.

Let me give you a sampling of articles from Israeli newspapers over the last 15 or so years about this amazing fulfillment of prophesy that is going almost unnoticed outside of Israel. Most of them concern either people from Africa who have proved to be descendants of the tribe of Dan, or from the India/China area large groups of people who have proved to be descendants of the tribe of Manasseh. Let me repeat: these are not from religious magazines or excerpts from agenda driven books. They are NEWS articles that I am quoting.

The personality of Eldad HaDani is a familiar one in Jewish history. He visited various Jewish communities in the ninth century CE and reported finding members of the tribe of Dan exiled in Africa. He tells enthralling stories of the Ten Tribes, describing them as remarkable warriors, and relates tales of the descendants of Moses who are imprisoned beyond the Sambatyon.

"Dan people, who are also known by the name Yacuba, live in the western part of the Ivory Coast and into Liberia where the land is forested in the south and bordered by a savannah in the north. The 350,000 Dan people make their living from farming cocoa, rice and manioc."

3) Israeli Rabbinate Recognizes Bnei Menashe as Descendants of Israel"

Here’s the thing that should excite us the most: in March of 2005 Israel officially recognized that there ARE indeed Hebrews living in tribes in Asia who are NOT Jews, but they are part of Israel. Politically, religiously, and socially this is NOT something the leadership of Israel wanted to accept; but the evidence was overwhelming. Before the government of Israel could agree about these non-Jewish Hebrews, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel had to agree that indeed some of the 10 lost tribes have been found intact, and they are NOT Jews who practice Judaism. So, naturally from a religious Jewish standpoint it is necessary to “convert them to Judaism”. That insistence has today become somewhat relaxed. Imagine! The Israeli government has officially recognized that there exists today large groups of Israelites who are NOT of the tribes of Judah or Benjamin. And as such they have OFFICIALLY agreed to open the doors of immigration to them, in the same way they have accepted Jews from everywhere. Ephraim has been recognized for who they are and given permission to come home. The prophecy of the two sticks of Ezekiel 37 is underway. Ezekiel’s prophecy is happening…it’s happening and we are eyewitnesses. The members of BOTH houses of Israel are coming home to become, once again, The Whole House of Israel never to be divided again.

We live in a time when old words and old doctrines are going to have to be reexamined and redefined. What is a Jew? What is Judaism? What is an Israelite? Perhaps even, what is the Church and what is a Christian?

What we DO know is that the Scriptures teach us that the TRUE ISRAEL…the ideal nature of God’s set apart people… is a SPIRITUAL nature. So, we have to constantly contend with the dual nature of Israel, of the Jews, and of the Ephraimites. And, we must be MOST careful not to mix-up the two. That gentiles have been joined SPIRITUALLY to Israel’s covenants by means of Yeshua’s sacrifice does NOT mean that we have become PHYSICAL Jews or naturalized citizens of the nation of Israel (or physical Ephraimites for that matter); and just as important, gentiles have NOT replaced the Jews nor the 10 tribes as God’s chosen people.

In the coming days and years, I believe that a growing portion of the gentile Church is going to reach out to Israel, just as a growing portion is going to continue to deny Israel their inheritance and pull further away from God’s people. And, just as surely, a portion of the Jewish people are going to reach out to Believers, just as a portion with want to distance themselves further and further from Believers. This is already happening across the globe, within and without the Church and Judaism, and in many places like America it has become part of the great political polarization that has occurred.

Regardless of that unsettling realty, the Jews are back in the land, Israel has been reborn, the 10 tribes have been found, and Ephraim has awoken from a 2700-year slumber.

I think we can check one more End Times prophecy off the list as in process of fulfillment, which means that the return of our Messiah cannot be very far off!