C H U R C H R E F O R M S E R I E S
By Biblicism Institute
The twelve ancient Hebrew tribes were united under the Kingdom of Israel for about 80 years of their existence: 40 years under their first King, Saul, and 40 years under David’s son, King Solomon.
Subsequently, the tribe of Judah split for good from the other eleven tribes. It became the Kingdom of Judah or the Southern Kingdom, while the other eleven tribes became the Kingdom of Israel or the Northern Kingdom. They remained distinct entities until their demise. Israel’s fate was sealed in 721 BC and Judah’s in AD 70.
ISRAEL & JUDAH
Ten of the tribes gathered under Israel and settled mainly the Samaria region, with Samaria City as the Kingdom’s capital. However, some of the tribes established themselves peripherally around Samaria – in Galilee (Naphtali and Asher) and on the eastern side of the Jordan river (Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh).
Judah settled what would become known as Judah or Judea, with Jerusalem as its capital city. The tribe of the Levites had no inheritance and lived in different towns in the Kingdom of Israel as commanded by God.
“Command the sons of Israel that they give to the Levites from the inheritance of their possession cities to live in; and you shall give to the Levites pasture lands around the cities.” Numbers 35:2
That is until around 975 BC when Jeroboam, King of Israel, kicked out the Levites who went to live in Judah.
“For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest’s office unto the LORD.” 2 Chronicles 11:14
Israel always did evil, but Judah mostly pleased God by helping the Levites make converts throughout the world, even though they did quite a poor job.
“Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints.” Hosea 11:12
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” Matthew 23:15
Israel continuously displeased God.
“Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight… And the LORD rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight.” 2 Kings 17:18,20
God’s command for all the tribes of ancient Israel was to cross the Jordan to claim their inheritance.
“Command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, to possess it.'” Joshua 1:11
However, Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh disobeyed, and did not cross the Jordan to claim their possession.
“We won’t take possession of any land on the other side of the Jordan River, to the west and beyond. We already have our land here, east of the Jordan.” Numbers 32:19
So God removed them.
“They were unfaithful to the God of their ancestors and prostituted themselves to the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria (that is, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria), who took the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh into captivity.” 1 Chronicles 5:25-26
God also uprooted all those who settled in Galilee – the first group through King Solomon and the rest through King Tiglathpileser of Assyria.
“King Solomon gave twenty towns in Galilee to Hiram, King of Tyre, because Hiram had supplied him with all the cedar and juniper and gold he wanted.” 1 Kings 9:11
“In the days of Pekah, King of Israel, came Tiglathpileser, King of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.” 2 Kings 15:29
The tribe of Benjamin – which many erroneously think was within the tribe of Judah – had their own territory.
“And the lot of the tribe of the children of Benjamin came up according to their families: and the coast of their lot came forth between the children of Judah and the children of Joseph. And their border on the north side was from Jordan; and the border went up to the side of Jericho on the north side, and went up through the mountains westward; and the goings out thereof were at the wilderness of Bethaven.” Joshua 18: 11,12
“And they passed on and went their way; and the sun went down upon them when they were by Gibeah, which belonged to Benjamin.” Judges 19:14
The tribe of Benjamin was part of the northern Kingdom, and many of Israel’s kings, like Saul and Ehud, originated from there.
“But when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man lefthanded: and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab.” Judges 3:15
The evildoing of the rest of Israel living in Samaria culminated under Hoshea around 730 BC, when Hoshea entered into an alliance with Egypt in order to throw off the Assyrian yoke. A ruse that failed. Assyria took Hoshea prisoner, and in 721 BC totally destroyed the Kingdom of Israel which never rose again.
“Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of rubble, a place for planting vineyards. I will pour her stones into the valley and lay bare her foundations.” Micah 1:6
The Benjamites and the other remaining Hebrew tribes of Israel in Samaria lost their territories and were carried into captivity.
“…the children in whom you delight… will go from you into captivity.” Micah 1:16
“In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in the towns of the Medes.” 2 Kings 17:6
Hence, all 10 tribes of Israel were scattered throughout the nations of the Assyrian Empire which didn’t include the Caucasus region, as many in our time are peddling in order to make converted Jews of today, who originate from there, appear Hebrews when they’re not.
Out of the 12 tribes only Judah pulled through as a tribal entity with land, the tribe of the Levites sheltered therein.
“There was none left but the tribe of Judah only.” 2 Kings 17:18
However, the great majority of the tribe of Benjamin escaped the Assyrian scattering, and took refuge between the shoulders of God’s anointed tribe, Judah.
“And of Benjamin He said, ‘The beloved of Yahweh shall dwell in safety by him; and Yahweh shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.’ ” Deuteronomy 33:12
God allowed that as a favor to Jacob, given that Benjamin was the patriarch’s much-loved last son from his beloved Rachel.
“It came about as her soul was departing (for she died), that she named him Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin.” Genesis 35:19
That is why, in 586 B.C., when Judah was overrun, and Jerusalem and the temple destroyed, the Benjamite refugees, along with the Judahites and the Levites, were carried captive to Babylon.
Likewise, in 536 B.C., when King Cyrus of Babylon gave the edict for the Judahites to return home and rebuild the temple, the Benjamite exiles and the Levites were amongst them as well.
“Then the leaders of Judah and Benjamin, along with the priests and the Levites – all those whose mind God had stirred – got ready to go up in order to build the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem.” Ezra 1:5
The reason God ejected and scattered the ten Israelite Hebrew tribes out of their land was because they became identical to those other nations of the Assyrian Empire that rejected Him.
In other words, they suffered the same fate as Adam and Eve whom the Almighty cast out of the garden. Similarly, there was no going back, even though the yearning to be God’s own did not go away. As a result, the scattered Hebrew tribes assimilated themselves as Judahites.
“This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Judahite by the hem of his robe and say, “Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you”.’ ” Zechariah 8:23
That unabashed vicariousness was their way of reattaching themselves to the only Hebrew branch left standing in with God’s blessing and protection. Even the Apostle Paul embraced said assimilation.
“For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” Romans 11:1
“Paul answered, ‘I am a Judahite, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city. Please let me speak to the people.’ ” Acts 21:39
Paul, an Israelite of the tribe of Benjamin, not only identified himself as a Judahite but also as a Roman, since he was living under Roman occupation in Judah.
“As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, ‘Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?’ ” Acts 22:25
People living under Roman occupation were immediate citizens, and could freely and safely travel throughout the vast empire, as well as choosing to make their abode wherever they wished, even in Galilee or other far-flung Roman provinces as Tarsus, Cilicia – formerly an Assyrian province, home to other Israelite exiles, including many Benjamites – where the Apostle Paul was born, though he grew up in Jerusalem at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3).
Therefore, by the time Jesus was born, only the Kingdom of Judah had survived and retained a contiguous territory with a King named Herod, even though Judah or Judea was part of the Roman Empire’s geographically designated federation known as Palestine which included various adjoining territories or provinces (see Map below – territories in red letters).
The Kingdom of Israel was long gone.
“Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.” Micah 3:12
Judahite Hebrews living abroad (including Israelites who assimilated themselves as Judahites) made the trip every year to Jerusalem, Judah for the feast of unleavened bread, which took place right after Passover.
“Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Judahites from every nation under heaven.” Acts 2: 5
However, in AD 70, as the entire Hebrew nation came up from all the country and the world to Jerusalem to the feast, God dispatched the Roman army to flatten Jerusalem and the Temple, and to destroy all the unbelieving Hebrews who had rejected and killed the Messiah. A disaster that is known as the Apocalypse, the Tribulation, the Armageddon, the End of the Age of the Judahite Hebrews and of the Hebrew remnants of Israel who grouped under the Judahite flag.
A destruction that was prophesied by Christ in the Gospels and by John in the entire book of Revelation, and was recorded by historian Flavius Josephus in The Wars of the Judahites. It was an Apocalypse that wiped out the entire Hebrew race, except for those who converted to Christianity and fled the Kingdom beforehand.
“Jesus turned and said to them, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.'” Luke 23:28
“But he responded, ‘Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!'” Matthew 24: 2
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. Then those who are in Judea (Judah) must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city.” Luke 21: 20,21
“Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” Matthew 24:34
“And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.” Revelation 11:8
The reason God eliminated the entire Hebrew race was because His gifts and calling are irrevocable (Romans 11: 28-31). So He had to irrevocably kill all the remaining non-Christian Hebrews, otherwise he would have had to keep the Old Covenant alive, and thereby undercut and undermine His Son’s New Covenant.
“By calling this covenant new, he has made the first one obsolete and what is obsolete is outdated.” Hebrews 8:13
“And I will silence in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, for the land shall become a waste.” Jeremiah 7:34
“Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!” Matthew 23:38
Thus from the time of Christ’s crucifixion in AD 30 to AD 70, God gave the disobedient Hebrews 40 years to repent and accept Jesus as the Messiah.
“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
And just like during their ancestors’ 40-year wilderness wandering, God was not about to lead the unbelieving Hebrews into the promised land of the New Covenant. They all had to die so He could start anew.
“Your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness.” Exodus 14:33
However, the Christian Hebrews who escaped those infernal LAST DAYS of the Old Covenant did not have the mark of the beast, and embodied “all Israel shall be saved”‘ of Romans 11:26. Their symbolic number in Revelation is 144,000 (12 tribes squared/Father & Son x 1000/many or 12² x 1000). Those with the mark of the beast were annihilated.
In other words, there are NO LOST TRIBES of Israel roaming about. They’re all dead. Besides, if they’re lost, why don’t they pick up a cell phone and call someone. After all, this is the 21st century. 🙂
After AD 70 there was no more Judah, just like there was no more Israel in Samaria after 721 BC.
Samaria was colonized by Asar-Haddon, King of Assyria, in 678 BC.
“The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Kuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim and settled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites. They took over Samaria and lived in its towns.” 2 Kings 17:24
These people the King of Assyria brought to repopulate Samaria became known as the Samaritans. They converted to the faith of the Judahites who learned to hate them with a hatred that lingered until the time of Jesus.
“…the king of Assyria gave this order: ‘Take one of the priests and let him go and live there. Let him teach the people what the god of the land requires.’ ” 2 Kings 17:27
“Now Jesus had to go through Samaria… The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Judahite and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Judahites do not associate with Samaritans.)” John 4:4,9
“Judahites and proselytes…“ Acts 2: 11
Judah was re-populated after AD 70 by Middle Easterners from the Roman Empire, including many returning Hebrew Christians who in time intermarried with other Christian Semites such as the Chaldeans, Assyrians, Aramaics, Arabs, Phoenicians, and Syriacs, who are all known today under the cultural appellation of Christian Arabs.
They also rebuilt Jerusalem which was razed to the ground by the Roman Army, and which today is NOT the same Jerusalem as the one Christ walked and lived in. See Pray for the Peace of which Jerusalem?
“Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!” Matthew 23:38
“Therefore, the LORD says: ‘I am planning disaster against this people, from which you cannot save yourselves… for it will be a time of calamity. In that day your enemies will make fun of you by singing this song of despair about you: ‘We are finished, completely ruined! God has confiscated our land, taking it from us‘. ‘ ” Micah 2:3,4
Tribal folks in the Middle East can immediately identify their ancestries which usually go back thousands of years. Only modern Jews are at a loss to reveal which of the 12 Hebrew tribes they belong to. That’s because they’re not Hebrews.
Not one person who calls himself a Jew today can trace his ancestry to Abraham or Jacob: 1) he cannot prove which Hebrew tribe he’s from, and 2) a Jew is only a non-Hebraic convert to the faith of the Pharisees of old.
As a result, the Israel of today – created in 1948 on the stolen land of Palestine – is an impostor state that is not the same as the Israel of the bible, since it is comprised of Jewish converts who are not descendants of Abraham.
“To your (Abraham’s) descendants I give this land….” Genesis 15:18
From 1095 BC to AD 70, the Hebrew Kingdoms had their chance to please God and failed. So God got rid of them.
“The ax lies ready at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” Matthew 3:9
It was time for a new government, the worldwide government of Christ through His new chosen people, the Christians – chosen to love, to do good, and to spread peace.
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh (Messiah) comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the nations.” Genesis 49:10
“Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end…” Isaiah 9: 7
Read also: The Hebrew Disease
Historian Josephus in The Wars of the Judahites frames the destruction and massacre in 70 AD this way:
“Now the number of those that were carried captive during the whole war was collected to be ninety-seven thousand; as was the number of those that perished during the whole siege, 1.1 Million, the greater part of whom were indeed of the same nation, [with the citizens of Jerusalem,] but not belonging to the city itself; for they were come up from all the country to the feast of unleavened bread, and were on a sudden shut up by an army, which, at the very first, occasioned so great a straitness among them, that there came a pestilential destruction upon them, and soon afterward such a famine as destroyed them more suddenly.”
“Caesar exhibited all sorts of shows in Cesarea Philippi. There, the captives were destroyed, some being thrown to wild beasts, and others in multitudes forced to kill one another, as if they were enemies.”
“Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and temple, but should leave as many of the towers standing as were of the greatest eminency; that is, Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamne; and so much of the wall as enclosed the city on the west side. This wall was spared, in order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison, as were the towers also spared, in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valor had subdued; but for all the rest of the wall, it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited.”
“Then there is the question of the exile of 70 AD. There has been no real research into this turning point in Jewish history, the cause of the diaspora. And for a simple reason: the Romans never exiled any nation from anywhere on the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean…“
“But if there was no exile after 70 AD, where did all the Jews who have populated the Mediterranean since antiquity come from? The smokescreen of national historiography hides an astonishing reality. From the Maccabean revolt of the mid-2nd century BC (on)… Judaism was the most actively proselytizing religion…
“The most significant mass conversion occurred in the 8th century, in the massive Khazar kingdom between the Black and Caspian seas. The expansion of Judaism from the Caucasus into modern Ukraine created a multiplicity of communities, many of which retreated from the 13th century Mongol invasions into eastern Europe. There, with Jews from the Slavic lands to the south and from what is now modern Germany, they formed the basis of Yiddish culture…”
[This is an excerpt from Dr. Gentry’s article The Book of Revelation and Eschatology]
I hold that Revelation was produced prior to the death of Nero in June, A.D. 68, and even before the formal engagement of the Judean War by Vespasian in Spring, A.D. 67. My position is that Revelation was written in A.D. 65 or 66. This would be after the outbreak of the Neronic persecution in November, 64, and before the engagement of Vespasian’s forces in Spring of 67.