Q178 : Are Ten of the Jewish Tribes Lost?

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Q178 : Are Ten of the Jewish Tribes Lost?

I was reading your article Ten Lost Tribes?a.

At the end you mentioned:

The fallacy inherent in all of the theories about the lost tribes is simply this: they were never lost, but continued as part of the main body of the Jewish people.

You then quoted one book (!?) to prove your position: William Varner, Jacob s Dozen: A Prophetic Look at the Tribes of Israelb.

I've been collection Jewish quotes on this subject since 1980, here are some quotes you could have used . . .

So, to condense this massive summary all down to one sentence: the ten lost tribes were conquered, and, like almost every other conquered people in the ancient world, lost their separate identity and were assimilated away into the sands of history.

A178 : by Tony Garland

Thank you for sharing the many quotes you have collected from various sources concerning the status of the ten northern Jewish tribes.

In reply to the assertion of some of the sources you cite that the ten lost tribes were assimilated following the Assyrian overthrow such that their identities were lost, one need only examine the many passages in both the Old and New Testament — as I do in my article — to show that inspired Scripture says otherwise. As a believer in the divine origin of the Scriptures, I have a choice: accept what God has said on the issue or dismiss it in favor of the opinions of numerous men, many of whom did not exercise faith in God and in any case directly contradict the divine record.

Those who claim the tribes are forever lost are often quick to refer to “learned Jewish resources” as authoritatively settling the matter. However, these are most often the same learned Jewish men who reject both Jesus and the New Testament. Why would I as a believer in Jesus and the inspiration of the New Testament give preference to their opinions when they remain unable to identify their own Messiah in history and are, according to rabbi Paul, spiritually blind (Rom. 11:7,25; 2Cor. 3:14)? Moreover, many of these same authorities contradict or diminish key passages in the Old Testamenta which clearly show that God-fearing members from among the ten tribes migrated to Judah prior to the fall of the Northern kingdom to Assyria. As my article points out, in the time of the New Testament, members from among the ten tribes were positively identifiedb — even if they are not easily identifiable in our day.

As I also made plain in the article, there is a sense in which, in our day, the ten northern tribes, with the possible exception of Levi, are lost: to my knowledge there is no reliable record or method by which a descendant of these tribes could be positively identified today. In the case of Levi, descendants could presumably be identified by surnames which relate to the tribe or priestly duties (e.g., Cohen).1 Even so, statistical genetic work would likely be required as additional confirming evidence. Lacking official genealogical records by which the descendants of the different tribes can be positively identified it seems we are at a loss to be sure of their identity. But this situation is no different for the northern so-called “lost tribes” than the southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin. (As an aside, a troubling question for those Jews who reject Jesus in favor of a future Messianic figure is this: given the present lack of Jewish genealogical records, how will it be known that a future Messiah is truly a son of David as the Scriptures require?)

You complain that I “quoted one book (!?)” to prove my position. On the contrary, the article you refer to contains 55 endnotes citing at least 11 extra-biblical references. Of course there are a huge number of resources with opinions on this topic, but in any case for the follower of Jesus Christ, the Bible trumps them all.

I stand by the conclusion of my article:

They are “lost” in the sense that mankind cannot identify them, but they are not lost from the perspective of our omniscient God nor His promises to preserve the nation and seal members from each tribe in the future time of tribulation.

Those who hold otherwise should take up the matter with God and His inspired Word.


1.For the most part, tribal identities have been lost through the generations, and the majority of Jews do not know which tribe they are from. There are a number of people whose families have passed down their identity as Kohanim (Priests) or Levites, which means they descend from the tribe of Levi. There are also a handful of non-Levite families who can trace their ancestry to a particular tribe, but these are few and far between. — www.chabad.org accessed 20111210.

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