Question: Dear Bob, Most in the my Church teach 'spiritual Israel' that the Christian replaced the Israelites/Jews. I do not believe this. Much of this thinking comes from a lack of biblical knowledge of the historical facts. I don't know who the 'Ten Lost Tribes' are. I have read and where I could, studied the theories - or at least some of the numerous ones. I accept the Gypsies and even the Japanese could be descendants of one or more tribes. History is difficult to follow back that far. The Romano certainly have suffered as the scattered tribes were told they would. I do not believe that Ireland and thereafter descendants of the British, conveniently became Israel. Some of the 'evidence' concerning the coming of the princess to Ireland with Jacob's Stone, the ark of the Covenant etc. is not plausible, let alone biblically or historically sound. I do not believe that one can say that the Danes are from the Tribe of Dan for instance, and then put each tribe into a country of today's geography. I do not believe that when the Pilgrims crossed the ocean in the Mayflower that suddenly they became another tribe. I realize that both England and America claim so much from ancient Israel to secure the world's recognition of who they say they are. The coats of arms, Queen Elizabeth's coronation and medallions, etc., and American symbols (about which you would know far more than I do). Even the fact that Queen Elizabeth can supposedly trace her lineage back to King David - this would not make England and her colonies (such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada) Israel - it would make them Judah. So what do I believe?- I don't know. Bob - if you can guide me to any genuine evidence of where the tribes are today - I would be most grateful. Yours in Christ.
Response: I certainly agree with the first part of your premise, namely that to "spiritualize" Israel away is unbiblical. The attitude that Christians and Jews are somehow two different categories (with the former replacing the latter) is an unfortunately wide-spread fallacy within the Church-visible, but bespeaks a complete rejection of everything that the Bible has to say about the matter. The Church was founded by Jews (our Lord is Jewish after all) - all the apostles were Jews, all the writers of the Bible were Jews (including Luke - Col.4:11 should read "who stood up for me [legally] - i.e., the verse does not exclude Luke from being a Jew), and there have been Jews in every generation of the Church who were and are true believers. Gentiles are a branch grafted into the spiritual olive tree of Israel (Rom.11), but the root and the stock is Jewish (these matters are discussed in detail in part 5 of the Satanic Rebellion series: "the Uniqueness of Israel"). It is true that it is faith, not race, that counts with God, but even here, Abraham is the exemplar of faith (Rom.4:1-24).
Biological descent alone means nothing: Esau was also a son of Isaac, and Abraham had many sons (most notable Ishmael), but it is the "seed according to the promise" which counts, a phrase that binds faith and promise together as equally essential (Rom.9:8). Early Christian-Jews were astounded to learn that God had showered His blessings upon the gentiles as well upon the seed of Abraham (cf. Acts 15), but accepted the will and the mercy of God in opening wide the gates of salvation to all who respond to Jesus Christ. It would be curious to suggest that somehow gentiles now have priority over Jews as concerning the flesh – in the Spirit we are all the children of God.
For there is indeed "much advantage" to being of Israel (Rom.3:1-2; cf. Rom.1:16; 2:9; 2:10), but the most important part of that advantage, the offer of eternal life, has now been opened wide to everyone, Jew and gentile alike, who choose to place their faith in the true Messiah. On the other hand, those who choose not to do so, even though they may be children of Abraham "according to the flesh", have thereby chosen to discard the great advantage of Jewish birth (Rom.3:3-4; 9:6).
Therefore while it is wrong to assume that Jews are somehow not meant to be part of the body of Christ in a preeminent way (for so they most definitely are, even though in terms of sheer numbers at the present moment they may constitute a minority of the Body of Christ), it is equally wrong to assume that being Jewish apart from faith in Christ nets any lasting advantage in the eyes of God - His Son, His Jewish Son according to birth, is the only way to eternal life for Jews and gentiles alike.
In part 5 of the Satanic Rebellion series, I have posited, based upon God's construction of the Jewish ceremonial calendar, that the number of human beings who will flood into the family of God during the Millennium will be proportionally greater than the Church (in the same way that the Church has been to historical Israel), and that the majority of these believers will be Jewish (answering the problem of disproportionate numbers: see "The Jewish Ceremonial Calendar").
As to the historical possibility of those of English extraction etc. having any connection with the 10 tribes, I would have to say that this is practically impossible from a historical point of view. The English race is an amalgam of pre-Roman Celts, Anglo-Saxon Germans, and Norman French-Scandinavians. These are all Indo-European peoples speaking Indo-European languages. How a relatively small group of surviving exiles could make their way out of slavery from somewhere in northern Mesopotamia (transforming their language and culture in the process) and surface in Britain some 8-17 centuries later (depending upon which one of the three groups mentioned above would represent these tribes) is question that begs for preliminary evidence before investigation (of which evidence I never seen anything convincing).
And as I say in a previous e-mail (see the link "Who is True Israel?"), there is definite biblical proof that not all of the members of these tribes were lost. Many of those who truly followed the Lord (remember that the ten tribes were idolatrous apostates and that is why God destroyed their country) escaped to Jerusalem (2Chron.11:13-17; cf. 2Chron.15:9). That the number of survivors of these ten tribes was small is no moment to God. After all, following the Babylonian conquest of Judah a century and a half later, the vast majority of the entire Jewish population was literally wiped out (even those who escaped to Egypt contrary to God's will were destroyed) - yet God was well able to restore His nation from a very small remnant (including some who are named as belonging to the ten tribes: 1Chron.9:2; cf. Luke 2:36). God can do so again as well. Given the short period of time until the end times begin according to my reckoning of the situation, I would be more than a little surprised to learn that the Israel present in the Middle East today was not the "true Israel" prophesied to be the focus of those future events.
It is true that, with very few exceptions, the inhabitants of Israel today are not believers in Jesus Christ. Certainly, I would be well-pleased to learn that I was really racially Jewish (it is not in fact the case). But as much as I would delight in Jewish genes, I would much, much rather be a believing gentile than to have the advantage of being of the seed of Abraham without also possessing the faith of Abraham (cf., Matt.5:30). There are many things about our circumstances which are beyond our power to change. We cannot make a single hair change color or add a single inch to our height. We cannot change whether we were born as members of that privileged race or merely garden variety gentiles. But we can "control", and are in fact here in this life for the primary purpose of "controlling" our attitude and response to the Messiah of the Jews and the Savior of the gentiles, both in our initial acceptance of Him, and in how we follow Him as His disciples every day. This is what God is really concerned with, namely, the attitude of our heart, and not our pedigree.
Please also see these links:
Are the Celts the Lost Tribes of Israel?
Some Jewish Issues
Who is "True Israel"?
The Ten Lost Tribes (so-called)
Yours in the Savior of all mankind, our Lord Jesus Christ,