There is an idea floating around the Christian community that the nations of America and England are two of the lost tribes of Israel. The proponents of this idea try to use the Bible to prove that Jesus sent His disciples up into northern Europe where they suppose the ten lost tribes of Israel to have been located in Christ’s day.
I show in this blog that Matthew 10 and Matthew 15 give no clear evidence of Christ sending His untrained disciples to far distant lands during His 3 year ministry. And when taking other texts into account, it is clear that they were not to go to the world until after Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
This is copy/pasted from an email.
Here are my thoughts. They may not answer all your claims, but in the back and forth we should be able to cover it all.
Of course, you know I will be biased toward EGW. Everyone is biased; it’s unavoidable. But, our best bet is to be biased according to the Holy Spirit’s inspiration. And I believe she was inspired. We must live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
“Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper.” (2Chron. 20:20).
I checked online at Bible Gateway for the phrase, “house of Israel.” The following texts indicate that the two houses of Israel and Judah were recognized by the time of David’s day, but that the phrase, “house of Israel” didn’t necessarily refer to only the nation exclusive of Judah and Benjamin, that is, the ten northern tribes. My conclusions come from these references and their contexts.
Of the references that specified only the northern 10 tribes, I found:
2 Sam. 12:8 (ten tribes) 1 Ki. 20:31 (ten tribes)
Jer. 3:18 (ten tribes) Jer. 5:11 (ten tribes)
Jer. 11:10 (ten tribes) Jer. 11:17 (ten tribes)
Jer. 13:11(ten tribes)
Jer. 31:27,31(ten tribes, and also the church under Christ)
Jer. 33:14 (ten tribes, and also the church under Christ)
Jer. 48:13 (ten tribes)
Hos. 1:4,6 (ten tribes via “Ephraim”) Hos.5:1;6:10;11:12 (ten tribes)
Amos 5:1,6 (ten tribes via the “house of Joseph”)
Amos 6 (ten tribes via “Samaria”)
Amos 7:10 (ten tribes via “Bethel,” and “the house of Jeroboam”)
Zech. 8:13 (ten tribes)
Of the references specifying all 12 tribes, I found:
Ex. 16:31 (all 12 tribes) Ex.40:38 (all 12 tribes)
Lev. 10:6 (all 12 tribes) Lev.17:3 (all 12 tribes)
Lev.22:18 (all 12 tribes) Num. 20:28 (all 12 tribes)
Josh. 21:45 (all 12 tribes) 2 Sam. 1:12 (all 12 tribes)
1 Sam. 7:2,3 (all 12 tribes)
2 Sam. 6:5,15 (all 12 tribes, David included)
2 Sam. 16:3(all 12 tribes) Ps. 98:3 (all 12 tribes)
Ps. 115:12 (all 12 tribes) Ps. 135:19 (all 12 tribes)
Is. 8:14 (all 12 tribes, “both the houses of Israel”)
Is. 14:3 (all 12 tribes, primarily Judah in Babylonian captivity)
Various meanings for the “house of Israel” were:
Ruth 4:11 (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Joseph, Benjamin)
Is. 5:7 (Judah and Jerusalem)
Is. 46:3 (survivors of the Babylonian captivity, primarily the Jews)
Is. 63:7 (ancient Israel and the present tribe of Judah/Benjamin)
Jer. 2:4,28 (Judah)
Jer. 5:15 (Judah/Benjamin)
Jer. 9:26 (Judah and Jerusalem)
Jer. 10:1 (cities of Judah)
Jer. 18:6 (men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem)
Jer. 23:8 (a remnant of all 12 tribes)
Jer. 31:33 (remnant of all 12 tribes)
Ez. 3:1 (Judah/Benjamin in captivity)
Ez.11:15 (inhabitants of Jerusalem)
Ez.12:9,10 (prince in Jerusalem, and Judah)(inhabitants of Jerusalem, and of the land of Israel)
Ez.45:8 (remnant of all 12 tribes)
Amos 9:9 (all 12 tribes? I’m not sure)
Mic. 1:5 (Samaria and Jerusalem)
Mic. 3:1(Zion, Jerusalem)
Acts 2:36 (the Jews)
Acts 7:42 (the Jews via the Sanhedrin)
Heb. 8:8,10 (the church of Christ)
This is the first definite reference to both houses separately: “And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.” (1Kings 12:21).
The Lord here said He was married to both the houses of Israel: “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:…. In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.” (Jer. 3:14,18).
Now let’s turn to the two texts in question, Matthew 10:5,6 and Matthew 15:21-28. “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matt. 10:5,6).
The above references settle it in my mind that the words, “house of Israel” referred to the nation in general. Here, Christ was inferring that the Jews were lost. And they were. Why would He begin His ministry far away when so many needed His help now? Or if He stayed but sent His disciples to distant lands, how could He teach them without being present with them?
Beside, “judgment must begin at the house of God.” (1Pet. 4:17). “…and begin at My sanctuary.” (Ez. 9:6). The Lord always begins His work with those who should know Him best or should know Him. In the case of the New Testament, that was the Jews. Jesus said, “Salvation is of the Jews.” (Jn. 4:22).
“Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
But, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.
“Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.
For Mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from My face, neither is their iniquity hid from Mine eyes.
And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because they have defiled My land, they have filled Mine inheritance with the carcases of their detestable and abominable things.
O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.
Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?
Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know Mine hand and My might; and they shall know that My name is The LORD.” (Jer. 16:14-21).
“Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them.” (vs. 16). Does that sound like what Jesus said at the beginning of His ministry to the Jews, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men”? (Matt. 4:19).
But Jeremiah says all that were taken captive to the north country would be brought back. That included all 12 tribes because when they were taken away, both Assyrians and Babylonians marched them north. But then Jeremiah mentions Gentiles
being fished. This forces this text to include the 10 tribes of Israel.
Be that as it may, Jesus called His disciples to fish for men, but starting with the Jews and anyone else living in Judea and Galilee. Even by the time of His ascension He prevented them from travelling far from Palestine. “And, behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Lk. 24:49).
Not until Pentecost would they go to the furthest points of the world.
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matt. 28:19,20)
“Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto Him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and besought Him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
But He answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Then came she and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me.
But He answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.
And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.
Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee.” (Matt. 15:21-29).
Was this only a test of her tenacity? Was He ignoring her because He was on some very important mission, and had no concern for her need? Or did He go there just because this woman, an alien of the commonwealth of Israel, came to feel her dependence of the God of Israel, even more than His own disciples did?
Does it sound like Jesus to ignore the poor in spirit and seek out more important people? “But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.” (Lk. 4:25,26).
“He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” (Ps. 147:3).
“There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them?
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.” (Lk. 18:2-8).
Jesus was simply using this faithful woman, whom He knew He could depend on, to help teach a lesson to His hard-hearted disciples the truth of why God waits to answer our pleas for help.
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord:
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.
In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
In those days
shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness.
For thus saith the Lord; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel.”(Jer. 31:31-34;33:14-17).
This was fulfilled in the apostolic church. Christ was that Branch of righteousness. (Is. 11:1-9). Isaiah’s chapter 11 prophecy culminates with this promise, “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and His rest shall be glorious.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
And He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.
But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.
And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.
And there shall be an highway for the remnant of His people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.” (vs. 10-16).
As those recipients of the early rain of the Holy Spirit were driven to the uttermost bounds of the globe, no multitude, nation, tongue, or people could stop them from preaching that the Messiah had come.
In figurative language for them to comprehend, Isaiah used the Assyrians, Egyptians, Ammon and Moab to describe all the nations of the Far East, Europe, and Africa who would hear the present truth from the apostles.
Since then, Christ, the righteous Branch, the “son of David,” has been sitting on David’s throne in Mt. Zion “in the heavens.” (Ps. 2:4). “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” (Mk. 16:19,20).
“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.” (Rev. 3:21).
“For finding fault with them, He saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in My covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people:
And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest.
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
In that He saith, A new covenant, He hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” (Heb. 8:8-13).
Do we dare expunge Paul’s inspired writings from the Holy Scriptures because they don’t fit into our conception of what the Bible is trying to teach us?
“The scripture cannot be broken.” (Jn. 10:35). If the scripture cannot be broken, then we must reconcile the Old and New Testaments and make them agree. To make them agree is to say that the revival under the apostles, especially due to Paul, fulfilled the ancient promise to Israel. “All shall know Me, from the least to the greatest.” In the church, “the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16) the Lord finally got what He had been waiting for from Israel for 2,000 years.
“The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.” (Is. 11:13). This was fulfilled in the early church.
“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.” (Eph. 2:12-14).