Reply to Claims that the Ten Lost Tribes Returned in Biblical Times (17 March, 2013, Nisan 6, 5773)
Below are brief replies to claims made against Brit-Am Beliefs. The claims concentrate on trying to show from the Bible that the Lost Ten Tribes after being exiled by the Assyrians returned (along with the Jewish Exiles to Babylon) and re-attached themselves to Judah.
We have more detailed answers to these claims and others along the same line in our article:
The Completeness of the Exile
Claims made by:
Ten Lost Tribes: Found! by Asher Intrater
Ten Lost Tribes: Found
The kingdom of Israel reached its height at the time of David and Solomon, approximately 1,000 years before the time of Christ.
During the reign of Solomon's son, Rehoboam, the northern ten tribes of Israel split away from Judah and Benjamin, dividing the kingdom into the northern tribes of Israel and the southern tribes of Judah.
From this division rose a hope to be reunited by the future Messiah (Ezekiel 37:12ff).
The northern tribes of Israel were taken into captivity by the Assyrians in the eighth century BC and the southern tribes of Judah followed in the sixth century BC.
We should clarify a certain point:
The Ten Tribes include minority elements from the Tribes of Judah (Judah, Benjamin, and Levi).
The Jews of Judah are comprised of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi AS WELL as MINORITY ELEMENTS from the Ten Tribes.
Nevertheless, most of the Tribes of Judah are amongst Judah.
Most of the Ten Tribes are with the Ten Tribes.
The Bible records the captives of Judah returning to the land of Israel during the fifth century BC.
Lacking a major description of the restoration of the northern tribes, speculation has risen over the years: “Where are the lost ten tribes?”
Many Christian cults claim to be descendants of the ten northern tribes. This includes groups in Japan, Native Americans, some elements in Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and parts of the Christian Zionist movement.
We say the Ten Lost Tribes are among Western Peoples. Other candidates are not serious and lack Biblical sanction.
The truth: there are no ten lost tribes. During the time of the captivities, members of each of the northern tribes returned to the area of Judah. After that, the name Judah, or the Jews, referred not only to Judah but to to the Benjaminites, the Levites, and the remnant of all the northern tribes.
It is true that all inhabitants of the Kingdom of Judah after the Return from Babylon were to be known as Jews. This however does not prove anything. By the same token all inhabitants of the USA may be called Americans no matter where their ancestors came from. If some citizens of the USA had other ancestry, for instance they came from China, that does not mean that no other members of that people exist elsewhere. In our example just because some US citizens who now call themselves Americans had forefathers who came from China does not mean that Chinese people are not to be found in other places. Last I heard, there were still quite a few Chinese living in China. Not all of them now dwell in Chinatown, USA.
All the tribes of Israel are included in what we call today the Jewish people...
2 Chronicles records many times that members of the northern tribes immigrated
to Judah after the kingdom division.
Neither 2-Chronicles nor any other Biblical sources says anything of the sort!
After the Babylonian captivity, thee nation of Israel was restored under the
leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah. Extensive genealogy lists indicate that the
northern Israelites kept family records and knew which tribe they were from.
NONE of the geneaological sources dating back after the time of Assyrian Exile in the Books of Chronicles, and in the Books of Ezra and Nehemia mention anyone from the Ten Tribes. They only mention people from Judah, Benjamin, and Levi! It follows that the Ten Tribes were exiled, never returned, and are still lost!
It was prophesied that the Ten Tribes would be Separate from Judah:
The Ten Tribes would be cast out in groups to specific areas whereas the Jews of Judah were to be scattered all over the world.
A certain degree of animosity was to exist between Judah and the Ten Tribes until the End Times when it shall be healed.
"AND HE SHALL SET UP AN ENSIGN FOR THE NATIONS, AND SHALL ASSEMBLE THE OUTCASTS OF ISRAEL, AND GATHER TOGETHER THE DISPERSED OF JUDAH FROM THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE EARTH "
"THE ENVY ALSO OF EPHRAIM SHALL DEPART, AND THE ADVERSARIES OF JUDAH SHALL BE CUT OFF: EPHRAIM SHALL NOT ENVY JUDAH, AND JUDAH SHALL NOT VEX EPHRAIM "
The Ten Tribes would Not be known to Judah (Hosea 1:7) and Judah at first will find it difficult to accept the fact that the Ten Tribes are whom they are.
The Jews of Judah will meet the return of the Lost Ten Tribes with mixed reactions:
"THEN SHALT THOU SAY IN THINE HEART, WHO HATH BEGOTTEN ME THESE, SEEING I HAVE LOST MY CHILDREN, AND AM DESOLATE, A CAPTIVE, AND REMOVING TO AND FRO? AND WHO HATH BROUGHT UP THESE? BEHOLD, I WAS LEFT ALONE; THESE, WHERE HAD THEY BEEN?"
In other words, the Jews will ask where were all those now identified as Israel when the Jews needed help and were alone? According to the Midrash (Pesikta Rabati 32;10) this reaction of the Jews will take place WHEN THEY SEE THE THREE EXILES OF THE LOST TEN TRIBES RETURNING!
The Ten Tribes will return:
AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THAT DAY, THAT THE GREAT TRUMPET [Shofar] SHALL BE BLOWN, AND THEY SHALL COME who were lost IN THE LAND OF ASSYRIA [Isaiah 27:13].
The Children of Israel were divided into two nations after the death of King Solomon. In the End Times Ezekiel 37 predicts that they shall be joined together. They shall be no more two nations nor will they be divided into two kingdoms again.
This implies that up until the moment of re-unification and the unification symbolized by the two sticks in Ezekiel 37 they will have remained divided!
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.