The Scriptures tell us that the “lost tribes” of Israel will play a major role in the last days. But if they are “lost”, how will they be found? Who are they? Where did they go? Will it soon be time to blow the shofar and call the lost tribes home? Could it be possible that you are part of the ten lost tribes of Israel? Even many Christians who are very familiar with the Scriptures may not really understand the truth about the ten lost tribes of Israel. Hopefully this article will help many of you to understand the history and the background of the lost tribes.
Most people know that King David ruled over a united kingdom of Israel.
After David’s son King Solomon died, Israel divided into 2 kingdoms.
The ten northern tribes rebelled against Solomon’s son and became known in the Scriptures as “the house of Israel” or as “the house of Ephraim” which referred to the most dominant tribe in the northern kingdom which was Ephraim.
Three tribes (Judah, Benjamin and the Levites) stayed in the south and they became known in the Scriptures as “the house of Judah” which referred to the most dominant tribe in the southern kingdom which was Judah.
As we see in the following Scriptures, God promised to bring back both Judah AND Ephraim to the land of Israel in the last days. Judah (the Jews) started returning to Israel in 1948. However, God also promised in Ezekiel 37 that Ephraim WOULD return and be reunited with Judah….
15 The word of the LORD came to me: 16 “Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Ephraim’s stick, belonging to Joseph and all the house of Israel associated with him.’ 17 Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand. 18 “When your countrymen ask you, ‘Won’t you tell us what you mean by this?’ 19 say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph-which is in Ephraim’s hand-and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah’s stick, making them a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.’ 20 Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on 21 and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.
So the promise of God is that once this happens they will never be divided again.
Has this happened yet?
So it is a prophecy that is waiting to be fulfilled.
This promise of a reunification between Judah and Ephraim is also found in Isaiah 11….
10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. 11 In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.
12 He will raise a banner for the nations
and gather the exiles of Israel;
he will assemble the scattered people of Judah
from the four quarters of the earth.
13 Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish,
and Judah’s enemies will be cut off;
Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah,
nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim.
So who is Ephraim today? Long before Christ came, Assyria invaded the northern kingdom and took the ten tribes away and scattered them to the four winds just as the Scriptures foretold. Many Israelites escaped the invading armies by boat and settled throughout the Mediterranean Sea area. Others escaped to areas to the north of the land of Israel. In future posts on this site you will be reading about how there is evidence that they scattered throughout Europe (and even further).
So how can we identify them today? A good place to start is in Genesis.
17And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head.
18And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.
19And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.
The term in verse 19, “a multitude of nations”, should literally read “the fullness of the gentiles” because that is what the Hebrew text actually says. Even back in Genesis, God knew that Ephraim would someday be mixed in with the gentile nations.
Today God has been revealing to His people that much of what is called “the church” around the world is Ephraim. But Ephraim is unfamiliar with many of God’s ways….
11Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin.
12I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.
Isn’t that an exact description of our day? God has written to Ephraim the great things of His Law in the Bible, but we consider the “Old Testament” to be a “strange thing”, don’t we?
But the days of restoration are coming just as the Lord promised through Jeremiah….
5 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD,
“when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
and do what is just and right in the land.
6 In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
The LORD Our Righteousness.
7 “So then, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when people will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ 8 but they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ Then they will live in their own land.”
The truth is that God is calling Ephraim from the 4 corners of the earth to be reunited to his brother Judah, and they will have one shepherd (Yahshua – Jesus the Messiah) over them.
If you are interested in learning more about God’s plan for the ten lost tribes of Israel, I encourage you to start researching this topic.
One great author that has done a whole series of books about the history of the ten lost tribes of Israel is Steven M. Collins. I very, very highly encourage you to get these books and to read them….