The Lost Tribes of Israel
Israel Becomes Two Nations!
God said in 1 Kings 11:9-13,
"The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the LORD'S command. So the LORD said to Solomon, "Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen."
Note this! It is the kingdom, not part of it, which is to be torn away. Only one tribe is to remain and that's the Tribe of Judah, which must remain subject to the throne. Why? "For David's sake!" David's dynasty must not be broken because God will not break his covenant!
When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam succeeded to him on David's throne. The people at once demanded the heavy taxes be reduced. Their spokesman was Jeroboam (Solomon's servant), who pleaded with Rehoboam in 1 Kings 12:1-5,
"Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all the Israelites had gone there to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from Egypt. So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and the whole assembly of Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: "Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you." Rehoboam answered, "Go away for three days and then come back to me." So the people went away."
In three days they went back to Rehoboam and he told them this verse 13,
"My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions."
This resulted in the people of Israel rebelling. The command to the people was, "To your tents, 0 Israel!" The challenge to the royal house was, "Now, see to thine own house!" (Verse 16). "So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day. 1 Kings 12:19-20 says,
"When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David."
I Kings 12:21-24 it says,
"And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the House of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the House of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying, Speak unto Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying, Thus saith the LORD, You shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me. They hearkened therefore to the word of the LORD, and returned to depart, according to the word of the LORD."
Israel is now divided into two nations. Notice carefully. The House of Judah, which now includes the tribe of Benjamin and Levi was wanting to go and fight against The House of Israel which was headed by Ephraim and Manasseh. But God said, "No! This is of Me!"
The term "Jew" is merely a late name for "Judah." It applies to the one nation, or House of Judah only and never to the House of Israel. The first place in the entire Bible where the word "Jew" is used is in II Kings 16:6 which says,
"At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drove the Jews from Elath: and the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there unto this day."
(Read the 16th chapter of 11 Kings)
Notice this! Ahaz began to reign as king of Judah (verse 1). He sat on David's throne (verse 2). At this time, a man named Pekah was king of Israel. With King Rezin of Syria as an ally, this king of Israel came against Jerusalem in war, and besieged King Ahaz of Judah, but could not overcome him (verse 5). "At that time, Rezin, king of Syria "the ally of Israel, fighting with Israel, against Judah" recovered Elath to Syria and drove the Jews from Elath" (verse 6).
Notice this! The first place in the Bible where the word "Jew" is used, we find Israel at war against the Jews! Israel's ally, Syria, drove the Jews out of the town of Elath! Certainly this proves that the Jews are a different nation altogether from the House of Israel. The Jews of today are Judah! They call their nation "Israel" today because they, too, descend from the patriarch Israel or Jacob. But remember that the "House of Israel", the ten tribes that separated from Judah are not Jews!
Whoever the lost ten tribes of Israel are today, they are not Jews! Wherever you see the name "House of Israel," or "Samaria," or "Ephraim," used in prophecy, remember this, it never refers to the Jews, but to the ten tribes of the House of Israel, who were at war against the Jews! The terms "Israel" alone, or "children of Israel," may, and sometimes does, include the Jews, where all twelve tribes are included. Jews are Israelites, just as Californians are Americans. But most Israelites are not Jews, just as most Americans are not Californians. The Jews are the House of Judah only and only part of the Israelites. But when these people are spoken of as nations rather than as collective individuals, the term "House of Israel" never refers to the Jews. "House of Israel" never means "Jews."
The two tribes at Jerusalem under the Davidic king are called, merely, the House of Judah and, later in history, "Israel," but never the national name House of Israel. But speaking of Ephraim and Manasseh, sons of Joseph, the dying Israel had said, "Let my name be named on them." And truly they now bear the name of Israel in prophecy. From this point on in the Bible, the tribe of Judah, with Benjamin and a portion of the priests of the tribe of Levi, are called "Judah," not Israel in Old Testament history.
Abraham, Issach, Jacob, Rubium, Simon, Dan, Gad, etc. were never Jews! The ten tribes, headed by Ephraim and Manasseh from this time on are called "House of Israel." They are not Jews, and never were called Jews! From this time on, the children of Israel, twelve tribes in all, are divided into two nations! And now, for the first time, the birthright goes into one nation, Israel, headed by Ephraim & Manasseh; while the scepter remains in another nation, called Judah. The two phases of the promises to Abraham now are separated into two entirely separate nations!
For many generations Israel and Judah remained as into idolatry. Israel was the only nation that kept it. Because they rejected this sign, they were driven out, and lost their identity. (Read Ezekiel 20:10-24.) Judah, too, went into captivity largely because of Sabbath rejecting. (See Jeremiah 17.) But those Jews who returned 70 years later under Ezra and Nehemiah had learned their lesson. They became legalistically strict Sabbatarians adding over the years so many of their own restrictions to it that Jesus, later, had to sweep aside this maze of man made rules, saying "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." To this day orthodox Jews have retained the original Sabbath. And because those Jewish people who descend from the Ezra & Nehemiah's leadership have retained God's covenant identifying sign, the world today looks upon them as Israel! And yet they actually are only a part of Judah.
So "the Lord removed Israel out of his sight. Israel was carried away out of their own land to Assyria" (II Kings 17:23). They left the land of Samaria and never yet, nationally returned! Gentiles were placed in their homes and cities, (v.24), and it is these Gentiles who were known as Samaritans in the time of Christ.
A more detailed account of the captivity of Israel is found in II Kings 18:9-12, and 17:5-18. Now the House of Israel began to "abide many days without a king" (Hosea 3:4). Since they were the people who carried the title "House of Israel," it is they, not Judah, who must become lost in identity! They lost their language, their religion, their land. They did not return to Palestine with the Jews in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, as some erroneously believed. Those who returned to rebuild the temple and restore worship in Jerusalem at that time, 70 years after Judah's captivity, were only those of the House of Judah whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried to Babylon.
Note well these facts.
1. In 721 BC Israel was "carried away out of their own land to Assyria" (II Kings 17:23). They were soon all removed completely. There was none left but the tribe of Judah only" (II Kings 17:18). Judah, only, remained.
2. More than 130 years later, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon carried the Jews (Judah), who only remained in the Promised Land, away to Babylon. So the House of Israel did not dwell in the Promised Land at the time of this captivity of Judah.
3. Those who returned to Palestine to rebuild the temple and restore worship 70 years after Judah's captivity were all of the House of Judah, all Jews, all of those whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away. They returned again "unto Jerusalem and Judah, every one unto his city" (Ezra 2:1). Only those of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi, who constituted the house of Judah returned at that time (Ezra 1:5).
Consequently those in Jerusalem in the time of Christ were of these three tribes, not of the House of Israel, except for those few individuals of the other tribes who joined Judah for religious reasons after the nation divided into two nations upon the death of Solomon.
By what name are these 10 tribes known today? Whoever they are, wherever they are, it is they, and not the Jews, who are the birthright possessors. It is they, not the Jews, who, after the ending of their punishment in 1800 A.D. must inherit the unbreakable promises to Abraham of national greatness, resources, wealth and power. It is Manasseh who, after A.D. 1800, was to become the world's greatest single nation, and Ephraim a great commonwealth of nations! Who can they be, today?