I received the following letter:

(A mutual friend) sent me a booklet you had written about the tribes of Israel and their occupancy of the holy land. You say that the Israelites that Assyria had removed from Israel returned to their homeland. But 2 Kings 17.24 expressly states that Assyria brought men from Babylon… “and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel, and they possessed Samaria and dwelt in the cities thereof.

We know too that Josephus says the ten tribes never returned – Antiquities Book 41 Chapter 5. – “There are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are beyond Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers.”

This, I think you must agree, undermines your assertion.

There has been a great deal of research done on the monuments and subsequent history of these people, notably by Davidiy. He traces them from the Caucasian region northwestwards across Europe to the British Isles and the fringes of Europe, with subsequent migration to the west and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. Gen. 28.14. They would be a blessing to all the families of the earth.

Thank you for your comments to me. I am not sure what you read, but perhaps it was my article on the “Ten Lost Tribes of Israel”? Either that or my recently published booklet on the “Jigsaw Bible.” You mention a booklet, so perhaps this is what you are referring to. That was not really the topic of my booklet, so my dealing with it was brief. I would encourage you to read my article on the subject at https://precepts.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/the-ten-lost-tribes-of-israel/

Yes, I am aware that many people from other nations were carried from those nations and deposited in the northern kingdom of Israel after the ten tribes were carried away. In fact, I quoted the verse you mentioned in my article on the “Ten Lost Tribes.” This was the policy of Assyria upon carrying Israel away. When the southern kingdom of Judah was carried away, Babylon had a different policy, and just let the land sit empty until Persia allowed the captives to return.

Yet that does not change what I also pointed out in my article, which was that Ezra 6:16-17 indicates that people from all twelve tribes returned to the land after the captivity was over, or that both Paul and James indicate that the twelve tribes are still around and clearly identified, both in the land of Israel and outside of it scattered abroad.

Whatever Josephus said cannot negate what the Word of God said. I do not deny that many, both of the southern two tribes and of the northern ten tribes, did not return under Ezra and Nehemiah. These tribes remained in the captivity, and were still there at the time Josephus was writing. When they returned to the land, we know that some from all twelve tribes returned, yet many remained behind and stayed in the scattering, and James speaks to them when he writes his letter to the twelve tribes scattered abroad. He does not seem to think that they are separated by distance, a river, or anything else.

As for tracing out where the ten tribes went or what peoples might have ten-tribe blood mixed into them, this seems to me to be a fruitless exercise. The real question today is whether or not one is “in Christ,” being and believing in Him. All hope for future blessings for us today should be based on this.

When the time comes that God sets up His kingdom on earth, He will inform those whom He considers Israel of their ancestry, and then they will enter into their blessings as descendants of the man Israel. No doubt this will include some who had no idea that they were Israelites, and will exclude others who were quite certain that they were Israelites. Yet even in Israel, He will weed out from among them the rebels. Yet that is a work that God must do. No one today can sufficiently do the work to determine who is an Israelite and who is not.

And to focus on that idea of identifying who is an Israelite and who is not, we know that the criteria for this, at least to serve God as an Israelite, was very stringent. In Ezra 2, we see an example of people way back then that had trouble proving their Israelite ancestry.

59. And these were the ones who came up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer; but they could not identify their father’s house or their genealogy, whether they were of Israel: 60. the sons of Delaiah, the sons of Tobiah, and the sons of Nekoda, six hundred and fifty-two; 61. and of the sons of the priests: the sons of Habaiah, the sons of Koz, and the sons of Barzillai, who took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called by their name. 62. These sought their listing among those who were registered by genealogy, but they were not found; therefore they were excluded from the priesthood as defiled. 63. And the governor said to them that they should not eat of the most holy things till a priest could consult with the Urim and Thummim.

Because of this, I see little point in seeking to figure out who is Israelite and who is not today. Unless one is able to trace his genealogy back to the Biblical genealogy of the twelve tribes, he cannot prove he is an Israelite, and thus should be considered defiled and unable to serve God as an Israelite. This includes not only people who think they might be of the ten tribes, but also those who call themselves Jews. They just do not qualify under the Biblical rules. As for Urim and Thummim, this points to Divine revelation, which does not happen in the dispensation of grace. No one will know who is really an Israelite and who is not until God once again speaks from heaven. This would cause me to conclude that hand-waving arguments about who crossed what mountains at what time is really of little value. No one can prove he is a Jew today up to Biblical standards. All are defiled. We should find our identity in Christ anyway, not in Israelite ancestry. What is the point?

As for being a blessing to the whole earth, I do not see that the more-faithful southern tribes (or those who believe they are the southern tribes) are necessarily blessing all the earth, so why should I believe that the northern tribes are doing so? If the ten tribes are actually the Germanic peoples of Britain and Germany, with their descendants in other lands like the USA, it seems to me that there have been a lot of curses for the whole earth mixed in with the blessings (like Adolf Hitler, or the atomic bomb.) Like most nations, I notice these nations are best at blessing themselves, or at least at doing what they think will bless themselves. Other nations are only blessed when they fit in with the plan. In my own country of the USA, we did somewhat less than bless the native peoples of this land when we drove them increasingly back from their ancestral lands until finally we stowed them in reservations full of mostly useless land and rocks, as I have seen firsthand. They might dispute how much of a blessing we have been to them, even though we have brought them much technology they didn’t have before.

Thank you again for taking the time to write to me. I would like to close by encouraging you not to continue to be caught up in arguments like this. As Paul warned Timothy in I Timothy 1:3-4,

3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.

It would be far better for you to focus on Jesus Christ and the blessings you have in Him as outlined in Ephesians and Colossians than to get wrapped up in disputes about who has Israelite lineage. It is in Christ that all our treasures are found, and it is far better to be focused on Him than on tracing out what Israelite tribes went where. Leave that to God when the time comes. If you focus on Christ, though, you will never be disappointed.