Monday, September 4, 2017

Finding the 10 "Lost" Tribes of Israel

Some racist cults claim to be descended from the 10 "Lost" tribes of Israel and that these tribes were white, Caucasian, Anglo-Saxon people. The BIBLE disagrees. The tribes of Israel were never lost, we know exactly who they were and where they went.

Cults such as the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, Church of Israel, KKK and alt-right claim that the 10 so-called "Lost" tribes of Israel migrated to Europe and eventually to America and that they, themselves, are the lily-white pure-blood descendants of these people. They also claim that people with dark skin pigment are descended from Ham and are cursed and they consider themselves to be the "pureblood" descendants of Abraham, and his forefather Shem. They claim to be God's chosen people through bloodline and descent and are known for being anti-semitic, they hate Jews as much as they hate people of African descent. I've already debunked the "Curse of Ham" myth in my previous posts. Let's see what the Word of God has to say about their other theories:

Diluting The "Pure Blood" Myth
Beyond the fact that every scholar in the world knows the Hebrews were olive-skinned people and not "white," these claims would be hilariously ironic if they weren't so disgusting. Genesis 46:8-26 records the family tree of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. Joseph's wife, Asenath, was the daughter of an Egyptian priest, a descendant of HAM. So much for their bloodline theory. The tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, named after Joseph's two sons, are descendants of Ham. Geographically, a majority of the Northern Kingdom was occupied by Manasseh and Ephraim.

I have established in previous posts that Judah's first wife was a descendant of Ham, as was Tamar, who he also had a child with. Simeon had a son with a Canaanite woman as well, a descendant of Ham.

Since the whole nation began with Jacob's 12 sons and their families, 70 people in total, who went down to Egypt and intermarried for over 400 years and since tribes frequently intermarried after the Exodus, it is absolutely ludicrous to think that the Israelites were some type "purebred" holy bloodline of white people, descended from Shem, in the way that these cults claim. God made a covenant with Abraham's family, not on the basis of some sort of mythological pure bloodline, but on the basis of faith.

Finding the 10 "Lost" Tribes of Israel
The claim that 10 of the tribes of Israel were "Lost," basically all except Judah and Benjamin, is equally ludicrous. They were never lost, we know exactly where they went. On 2 occasions, the Assyrians invaded Israel, ultimately conquering the tribes of the Northern Kingdom in 722 B.C. 1st and 2nd Kings is the history of the Northern Kingdom. 2 Kings 15:29 tells us precisely what happened to them.

In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came and captured Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and he carried the people captive to Assyria.

In the first invasion, Tiglath-pileser, King of Assyria captured 8 regions of Israel including Galilee and all of the tribal region of Naphtali. He captured the cities of Hazor, Kedesh and Ijon. This shows us that he penetrated into the northernmost tribes of Israel, including the city-state of Dan (which had never conquered its original allotment down south) and then into Zebulun, Naphtali, Asher and possibly Issachar. It also tells us that he conquered Gilead, which is a term that refers to the area west of the Jordan River where the tribes of East Manasseh, Gad and Reuben resided. Some people from either 7 or 8 tribes of Israel were taken captive and carried off into Assyria. Relocating a conquered people in order to assimilate them into their new culture was common practice in the ancient world. 

2 Kings 17:6 records where the people were taken when Israel was defeated by the Assyrians in a 2nd invasion. 

In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and carried Israel away into exile to Assyria, and settled them in Halah and Habor, on the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

In 722 B.C., Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom, fell to the hand of Shalmaneser, King of Assyria. He finished the job Tilglath-pileser began, relocating the remaining residents of Israel to Assyria, placing them in Halah, and on the Habor River and in the cities of the Medes. The rest of Israel, including Issachar, West Mannaseh and Ephraim was conquered when the capital city was taken.

If you've been counting, you probably only came up with 9 tribes: Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Reuben, Zebulun and Naphtali. That's because, Simeon, located south of Judah was probably absorbed into the lower Kingdom and the tribe of Levi, who were the priests, lived among the other tribes.  

So, what happened to them? Some of them were assimilated into Assyrian culture, or at least adjusted to their new environment, building new lives in their new location. The entire purpose of the relocation was to integrate them into the empire and prevent revolt.

A remnant, however, remained in the land. 2 Chronicles 34 records some of the reforms of King Josiah of Judah. Not only did he rid all of Judah of idols, but he also cleaned out the rest of the promised land. He travelled through the ruins of the Northern Kingdom, to Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon and as far north as Naphtali, tearing down pagan altars and crushing idols into powder. In addition to collecting an offering from the people of Judah and Benjamin, the Levites also collected an offering from the faithful remnant of people still living in Ephraim and Manasseh and throughout the promised land.

Ultimately, Babylon conquered Assyria. They also conquered the Southern Kingdom of Israel, carrying off the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and the Levites to captivity in Babylon. Then Persia conquered Babylon, just as Daniel predicted. King Cyrus of Persia decreed that the Israelites could return home, just as Jeremiah predicted. Cyrus' father was a Persian, but his mother was a Mede. He may very well have grown up around Hebrews living in those Mede cities, or at least gained an appreciation of them from his mother. Either way, Cyrus' decree pertained to the entire Kingdom. While only the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and the Levitical priests are recorded as returning in mass, this makes sense because it had only been 70 years since the Southern Kingdom fell, but it had been nearly 200 years since the Northern Kingdom was conquered. None of them had seen the promised land and their families had lived in their new surroundings for generations. Nevertheless, all believers in the one true God were free to return. The Bible records that people returned from many cities in the Persian empire. Members of the northern tribes could have been among those who were unable to prove their descent from the nation of Israel. (Ezra 2:59) Others remained in their new homes in the Medo-Persian empire. Many of those who were scattered and did not return to the promised land, still maintained their identity as Hebrews. The book of Esther tells part of their story.

We know that some people remained aware of their heritage. Jesus was from the tribe of Judah, Paul from the tribe of Benjamin, John the Baptist's father was a priest from the tribe of Levi, and Anna, the prophetess who encountered Jesus in the temple, was from the tribe of Asher. But after the exile, the Jews were viewed more as one people than as individual tribes.

The northern tribes of Israel were never lost. We know exactly who they were descended from and what happened to them due to the careful, accurate and faithful history which has been preserved for us in the Bible. After Rome destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the Jews were scattered in what is known as the diaspora, but they still maintained their ethnic, cultural and religious identity through the centuries, right up until the promised land was restored to them in 1948. Today, the descendants of Israel live all over the world, and are well aware of their heritage.

More importantly, we know that the true children of Abraham are those who have faith, regardless of who their ancestors were.

Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. (Galatians 3:7)

It is just as the Scripture says: “Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Greek: The same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich to all who call on Him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:11-13)

Here are links to the other 2 posts in this series:
Here is a map of the tribal allotments. Sorry for the glare over Reuben, just underneath Gad:

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