The Lost TribesOctober 31, 2019 - 12:00 am
In that day the LORD will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant 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 Mediterranean. — Isaiah 11:11
Aliyah is Hebrew for “ascent” or “to go up.” In biblical times, it was used to describe the pilgrimage all Jews made three times a year to Jerusalem for holy festivals. Today, it refers to immigration to Israel. These devotions explore aliyah and the fulfillment today of biblical prophecy that God would bring back His children to their ancient homeland, Israel. Discover how you can participate in fulfilling biblical prophecy through The Fellowship’s On Wings of Eagles ministry.
How is it possible to lose entire groups of people? To answer that question, we need to have a brief history lesson. Following the death of King Solomon, the nation of Israel split into two kingdoms—the northern kingdom, called Israel, and the southern kingdom known as Judah. The tribes of Reuben, Simon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Ephraim, and half the tribe of Manasseh made up the northern kingdom. Benjamin and Judah were in the southern kingdom.
In 722 B.C.E., the kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrians, and according to Scripture, many of the Israelites were deported to “Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in the towns of the Medes.” Those from the northern tribes never have been heard from since.
Theories on the “lost” ten tribes abound. According to the Encyclopedia of Judaism, a wide range of non-Jewish tribes and groups claim descent from the Israelites, such as sections of the Nigerian Yoruba tribe in Africa. Groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan have sub-tribal names such as Reubeni (Reuben), Efridar (Ephraim), and Ashuri (Asher), suggesting that they come from the lost tribes.
Stories of the recent discovery and return to Israel of the Bnei Menashe— the Jews living in India— and the Jews of Cush, or Ethiopia, support the idea that that Jewish exiles to the north migrated to the “four quarters of the earth” (Isaiah 11:12), just as the Bible prophesized. And as the Scripture also foretells, God “will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people.”
I believe we are seeing that happening today, as Jews from the former Soviet Union, Africa, India, South America, and around the globe, are returning to Israel — some returning with help from the generous donations of Christians through The Fellowship’s On Wings of Eagle ministry. God, indeed, is bringing back His people to their homeland.
As we witness biblical prophecy being fulfilled and see firsthand God’s mighty work in and through His people, we can be encouraged that the Holy One we worship is faithful to all His promises. We can look forward to the day when, according to Zechariah 8:13, Judah and Israel will no longer be a curse among the nations, but a symbol and a source of blessing.