Question: Joseph's descendants? Where are they? Is it important to know the real Israel in the light of what is now unfolding in God's great plan of redemption? I can't seem to get free from it. I would appreciate the wisdom the Lord has given you and any word you are to share with me. Thank you, sincerely. Your sister in Christ,
Response: Joseph, of course, is the father of Ephraim and Manasseh, two of the tribes who ultimately settled in the northern part of Israel after the conquest of the land of Canaan under Joshua. What became of the so-called "ten lost tribes" (for all of whom these two often stand) is one of history's mysteries, though the original location of the exile of the northern kingdom of Israel at the hands of the Assyrians in ca. 723 B.C. is spelled out in the Bible (2Ki.17:6: "in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River in the towns of the Medes"). It is important to note here that not every member of the "ten tribes" who constituted the northern kingdom was exiled as there had been some mixture and change of residence even since the beginning of the divided kingdom (cf. 2Chron.10:17; see also 1Chron.9:2), and some had left the north to settle in Jerusalem after rejecting the idolatrous ways of Jereboam (2Chron.11:13-17; cf. 2Chron.15:9). So even if the families of the Assyrian deportation have since died out entirely, it does not mean that these tribes are not represented in the number (or "gene pool"; cf. Luke 2:36) of those today who identify themselves as being Jewish - it is true that only God can sort such things out, but He can and, in its proper time, He will.
Much more important is the fact that we are all, all who have put our faith in Jesus Christ, "children of Abraham" in terms of being his spiritual seed (Rom.4:16). In every generation of the Church, moreover, there have been Jews - the remnant Paul speaks of (Rom.11:5). Indeed, the Church is not only founded upon the apostles and prophets (all Jews), but is of course the Body of Him who bought us, our Lord Jesus Christ, of genuine Jewish stock according to His humanity (Rom.1:3; cf. Lk.3:23ff.). And in the coming Tribulation, Israel will once more take the leadership role in the Church of Jesus Christ, a spiritual organization which is composed of all for whom He died and who have chosen for Him. These issues are covered in detail in part 5 of the Satanic Rebellion series, under "The Uniqueness of Israel".
There is one more point which should probably be mentioned here. In the past century, a number of groups have tried to make the claim that various other peoples (usually Anglo-Saxons) are really the "ten lost tribes" and so "the true Israel". This fantasy has no historical or scriptural basis and has been a dangerous jumping off point for all sorts of false doctrines. Even if it were true (which it demonstrably is not), there is, from the spiritual point of view, no lasting benefit to being Abraham's physical seed without also following in the footsteps of Abraham's faith, and if one does the latter, then the former, while a blessing, is not determinative of salvation, spiritual growth, or ultimate reward. For, whether we are Jews who believe in Christ as the way to the Father, after the pattern of Abraham (Gal.3:7), or whether we are gentiles who have been brought near and into the same fellowship by the blood of Jesus Christ (Eph.2:11-22), we are now all one family in Him (Gal.3:26-29).
Please see also the following links:
Who are the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?
Are the Celts the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?
The Ten Lost Tribes
Some Jewish Issues
Yours in Him,